Maintaining Quality Produce in the Supply Chain
Will Daniels, Senior VP of Operations and Organic Integrity, has played a major role in Earthbound Farm’s rapid rise from a small regional farm to the nation’s largest grower of organic produce. Ahead of the Cold Chain Food Logistics Summit, he shares his thoughts on maintaining high-quality produce in the supply chain.
What are the added challenges of maintaining quality through the cold chain when dealing with organic products?
Because of the relatively low percentage of organic produce in mainstream markets today, orders are less than truck quantities and often less than pallet quantities. This means several stops to fill the truck before delivery to a DC. Every stop means an opportunity for temperature abuse.
When it comes to maintaining food quality, what do you think are the biggest flaws in the current regulatory environment?
Temperature control is probably one of our biggest influences to quality and certainly a factor for safety. It would do both areas a lot of good to start moving towards temperature control requirements for fresh cut produce.
Looking forward, do you expect to see any changes in standards when it comes to shipping food across borders?
I would expect to see continued efforts in changing regulations for shipping in general. The foreign supplier portion of FSMA starts to address concerns, and I would expect to see further regulation as opportunities present themselves.
How important is the "human factor" in properly moving food through the cold chain?
The "human factor" is extremely important. Temperature monitors and refrigeration units are only as good as their operator. Ensuring proper calibration and integrity throughout the system ensures good cold chain management.
Are there any new or emerging technologies that Earthbound Farms is considering adopting to maintain food safety?
Earthbound is always looking for new, emerging technologies. Rapid testing and traceability/GPS technologies are two areas we are keenly focused on and look forward to some advances.
Interview Conducted by Shawn Siegel, Digital Content Manager, Cold Chain IQ
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