Good Fruit Grower

March 1

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Certification not unique to produce Third-party auditors must follow international standards and go through six months of training. by Melissa Hansen griculture, with its various food safety and susfood retailers. Instead of following one standard, such as tainable production standards now required by GlobalGAP an international standard for good agricul, many retailers, is not the only industry subject tural practices widely recognized in Europe, several major to standards. Hundreds of national and interU.S. retailers have essentially reinvented the wheel as national standards exist relating to all types of they adopt their own program and audit requirements. products from electrical three-prong plugs to paper sizes. Proliferation International standards have been around for For several years, United Fresh Produce decades, says Ben Marchant, vice presiAssociation has worked with retailers and dent of business development for NCSI the produce industry to harmonize food Americas, Inc., the North American divisafety programs used by U.S. retailers for sion of NCS International, a global certifiproduce. The goal was to avoid growers cation body. ���The idea back then was to and shippers having to implement similar, develop standards to keep government yet different programs, each requiring a out of industries and serve to level the separate third-party audit. The result was playing field,��� he said, adding that self-regdevelopment of the Produce Good Agriulation is a popular concept overseas in ���Ben Marchant cultural Practices Harmonized Food business and manufacturing industries. Safety Standards. Retailers are now in the process of The roots of the International Organization for Stansigning on to the harmonized standards. dardization go back to 1926 when the International FedWhile international standards developed by ISO follow eration of the National Standardizing Associations was a thorough, thoughtful, and elaborate process, with pubformed to standardize the mechanical engineering world. lic comments from all involved in the industry, the same It was reorganized in is not so for private programs developed by retailers. ���Standards do act as a great leveling tool,��� said ���International standards must be open and allow for Marchant, adding that standards give customers a high comments,��� said Marchant. ���They can���t be loaded, say, for level of assurance of product quality, product specificaexample, created by retailers for retailers.��� tion, and references. Customers know what to expect For example, for GlobalGAP half of their board repre, when purchasing materials, even if the company is from sents growers, half retailers, he said, and changes to the abroad. GlobalGAP standards allow for member feedback and But the rub for fresh produce growers and packers has involvement. been the proliferation of different standards required by ���Standards do act as a great leveling tool.��� The certification entities that provide third-party audit services go through a similar process that the international standards must go through. ISO Guide 65 specifies requirements for a third-party operating a product certification system. ���Third-party certification has been around for quite a long time,��� he said, adding that the first generation of certification dates back to the late 1940s, while the current form of food safety certification programs began in the 1990s. Standards It would have been very difficult for ISO to develop the specialization needed to conduct a wide variety of inspection services, thus, it developed a standards guide for certification bodies, he explained. Standards for third-party food safety auditors require tertiary education in the agriculture, experience, and training. As more retailers require some form of a third-party audit, there is concern that there won���t be enough auditors for the industry in the next few years. ���As a certifying body, we try to forecast demand and plan for the coming year,��� he said. ���But it takes six months to train an auditor, so when a grower calls the week before requesting an auditor, it makes scheduling difficult.��� He encourages growers to book their audits early to ensure that demand for audits can be met. Marchant spoke during the 108th annual meeting of the Washington State Horticultural Association. ��� 32��, 31��, 30��, 29��, can help! Do these #s worry you? KDL KDL�� 0-0-24 DEXTRO-LAC �� SERIES 28�� Many tree fruit growing areas of the country experienced multiple and severe frost events in 2012. The extent of damage from a frost event depends on many environmental factors that growers can���t control and the steps growers can take to mitigate frost. Irrigating can put heat into the orchard ���oor and wind machines can be helpful if there is an inversion layer. Foliar applications of KDL can also help condition buds and fruitlets to better tolerate subfreezing temperatures. KDL is a unique sugar-based potassium that when applied within 12-48 hours of a frost event has been shown to help improve frost tolerance and minimize damage. Growers normally should AVOID foliar applications of potassium during fruit cell division because potassium can antagonize calcium during this time and reduce ���nal fruit quality. But when faced with the threat of signi���cant crop loss minimizing the immediate frost danger is the priority. KDL can help! During spring as plants begin to grow new green tissue the demand for nitrogen is at its greatest. At this stage the nitrogen to potassium ratio strongly favors nitrogen. Young tissue high in nitrogen is more susceptible to frost damage. Applying KDL prior to a frost event can change the nitrogen to potassium ratio in the tissue and improve cold tolerance. This spring give your orchard the edge over frost ��� Apply KDL! Science-Driven Nutrition SM AGRO-K CORPORATION �� 2013 Agro-K Corporation. KDL is a registered trademark of Agro-K Corporation. 12 MARCH 1, 2013 GOOD FRUIT GROWER

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