Noncompliance results in restricting use of the label. Eleven Rivers is developing a digital system that will report the Intertek results directly to members and probably to government authorities as well.
The annual fee covers label costs, promotions and auditing expenses.
For transparency’s sake, Mariscal said, the coop framed its model in reference to the widely accepted tomato metrics published by the United Fresh Produce Association. In its first year, tomatoes were about 40% of labeled products.
The flurry of activity prompted by SENASICA's approval, as well as the co-op’s experience at recent Produce Marketing Association Fresh Summits, prompted a reduced presence at this year’s trade show.
“This is the first year we did not have a booth at PMA,” Mariscal said. “It’s a change of strategy. In the past three years we had some success, but there have not been many new people to meet. Because we’re not reaching any new clients or markets, and we have a lot of work to do training auditors, our focus is more internal.”