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Fresh produce compliance guide
USDA fresh produce compliance software for better inventory, traceability, & reduced post harvest waste
USDA fresh produce compliance software
USDA fresh produce compliance software
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees food safety for fresh fruit and vegetables. After several large outbreaks of food borne illnesses in the mid-1990s, traced to California lettuce and Guatemalan raspberries, FDA started to focus on the potential for microbial contamination of fresh produce at the farm level. In 1998, FDA published its voluntary guidelines for good agricultural practices (GAPs) to reduce microbial contamination. FDA acknowledges that with current technology it is possible to reduce, but not eliminate, the risk of microbial contamination. These voluntary guidelines are used by many U.S. and foreign producers growing for the U.S. market. GAPs are general guidelines that can be used for any fresh fruit or vegetable.
For growers, adopting GAPs has benefits and costs. When there is an outbreak traced to a particular commodity, all growers face reduced consumer demand, even if the outbreak is not traced to their operation. Farmers with GAPs can reduce their losses in such a case. In the 2003 hepatitis A outbreak associated with green onions imported from Mexico, growers with GAPs and third-party audits of their status suffered fewer losses than other Mexican growers who could not easily show buyers that they took food-safety precautions.
Another important benefit of adopting GAPs is that many retail and food service buyers now require that their growers show compliance with GAPs. These buyers also may demand food-safety practices that exceed the GAP guidelines. Growers receive wider market access with GAPs, but not necessarily higher prices. While produce of different sizes and observable quality differences have different prices, price differentials for produce grown with different food safety practices have not emerged. Consumers cannot observe food safety, and growers can use GAPs but cannot guarantee a product's safety. Under these conditions, retailers and food service buyers may be wary of advertising claims that some produce is safer and merits higher prices.
USDA FRESH PRODUCE COMPLIANCE SYSTEMS
Farmsoft delivers opportunities to reduce waste during the packing, processing, storage, and distribution phases. By enforcing best practices, FIFO (when practical), inventory expiry monitoring, and easy stock takes - your company has every opportunity to minimize waste and maximise profit. From bar code managed inventory, inventory labeling, to 3D pallet storage, farmsoft delivers on reduced waste.
TRACEABILITY MADE EASY
Perform recalls in seconds, with the full confidence of accuracy and reliability. Minimize risk by ensuring accurate traceability is automatically captured. Pass audits with ease & reduce compliance costs using farmsofts automatic paperwork features. Trace fresh produce up and down the supply chain, over multiple traceability hops. Instantly produce spray records, residue analysis, soil analysis, and any other farm traceability records if you use our farm solution.
REDUCE ADMINISTRATION COSTS
Minimize your administration costs with automatic paperwork generation. Ensure accuracy of paperwork by having necessary documentation (invoice formats, export documents, transport documents etc) presented to employees based on the needs of the specific customer - ensuring timely and accurate documentation. No more rejected orders because of bad documentation accompanying a shipment.
CONSISTENT QUALITY CONTROL
Guarantee consistent, accurate, and efficient quality control is performed at any part of the fresh produce handling life-cycle; including during delivery, pre-processing, post processing, and dispatch. Create quality control tests based on each customers requirements, and even create a daily factory hygiene test, employee performance tests and more. Accurate quality control helps to improve customer confidence and quality perception.
BETTER PRODUCTION PLANNING & DISPATCH
Monitor orders, assign orders to specific packhouses (you can have unlimited processing sites in farmsoft), and allow micro monitoring of each production lines output requirements using dashboards. The dashboards ensure the correct products are produced at the correct time to fill orders. Dispatch teams are given details on their mobile device (or PC/Mac) and scan pallets onto orders. Administration teams can see orders are picked and ready for dispatch, and are presented with the correct documents for printing. All of these features result in improved accuracy of both production and dispatch processes.
OPTIONAL FARM SOFTWARE INTEGRATION FOR FARM TO PLATE MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS
Optionally use farmsoft Farm Management software with our Post Harvest solution. Using both solutions provides an end to end solution from field to plate. Farm Management by farmsoft delivers full farm record keeping, farm inventory, cost monitoring, budgeting, best practice enforcement, and adherence to international farming standards. Use Farm Management by farmsoft to manage your own farms, or even hundreds of external farms that supply your fresh produce company.
America's Most Critical Nutrition Assistance Program:
USDA announces latest actions to enhance integrity
USDA Under Secretary Kevin Concannon today announced results of USDA's efforts to identify and eliminate fraudulent retailers from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in fiscal year 2012. Last year, USDA compliance analysts and investigators took action to:
- Review over 15,000 stores;
- Conduct investigations on more than 5,000 stores nationwide;
- Impose sanctions, through fines or temporary disqualifications, on 692 stores found violating program rules; and
- Permanently disqualify 1,387 stores for trafficking in SNAP benefits (i.e. exchanging SNAP benefits for cash) or falsifying an application.
"Our message today is clear and firm: abuse of SNAP benefits—and the American taxpayer's trust—will not be tolerated and carries severe consequences," said Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Kevin Concannon. "In the coming year, we will take further steps to strengthen SNAP integrity and continue to hold accountable those few bad actors that try to take advantage of the program. We are committed to ensuring these dollars are spent as intended - helping millions of American families put healthy food on the table."
In addition, as part of its ongoing effort to combat fraud among SNAP-authorized retailers, USDA's Food and Nutrition Service published a Request for Information (RFI) soliciting cost-effective, automated solutions from all current and potential partners to help identify fraudulent activity and exclude retailers who violate the rules from participating in SNAP. The USDA is looking for innovative solutions which will identify connections between stores applying to accept SNAP benefits and store owners who have been previously disqualified from accepting SNAP benefits. The RFI also seeks to identify store owners applying or already authorized to accept SNAP benefits who have business integrity violations such as a criminal conviction, a history of fraud, violations of certain laws, or a history of non-compliance with other government programs.
"Enforcing SNAP business integrity is critically important," added Concannon. "The RFI continues our efforts to look at how improvements in commercial technology may be used to obtain accurate information on ownership so that fraudulent retailers can be excluded or removed from SNAP."
USDA continues to work with local, state and federal partners to root out fraud, waste and abuse in SNAP and ensure the integrity of our nation's most important food assistance program. Recent actions include:
- Published a proposed rule that allows USDA to not only permanently disqualify a retailer who traffics, but also assess a monetary penalty in addition to the disqualification.
- Published a final rule to establish standards and expectations regarding State matching requirements to prevent ineligible people from participating in the program. The final rule sets expectations for States to conduct matches against persons in prison, those who are currently disqualified from participating due to past program violations, and deceased persons.
- Updated the Agency's Anti-fraud Locator using EBT Retailer Transactions (ALERT) system. The re-designed ALERT system, which monitors electronic transaction activity and identifies suspicious stores for analysis and investigation, allows USDA to quickly implement fraud detection scans as new schemes are identified, better target high risk areas, and incorporate better data mining driven models.
- Helped State Agencies conduct automated searches to monitor social media websites for attempts by individuals to buy or sell SNAP benefits online. Notified state social service agencies and federal agency partners about violators to better protect our public programs. This includes information on program recipients with suspicious transactions at stores that have been sanctioned for trafficking so that the recipients can be further investigated by States.
SNAP—the nation's first line of defense against hunger—helps put food on the table for millions of low income families and individuals every month. SNAP is a vital supplement to the monthly food budget for low-income individuals. Nearly half of SNAP participants are children and more than 40 percent of recipients live in households with earnings.
USDA to allow Hass avocado imports from all Mexican states
USDA’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will amend 7 CFR 319.56-30 of the “Fruits and Vegetables” regulations to allow importation of fresh Hass avocado fruit into the continental United States, Hawaii and Puerto Rico from all areas of Mexico subject to a systems approach.
The current systems approach applies to Hass avocados imported from the Mexican state of Michoacán and will be extended to all areas of Mexico. Effective Monday, June 27, 2016, commercial consignments of Hass avocados from all areas of Mexico with an approved operational work plan will be allowed into the U.S. accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate certified by the NPPO of Mexico indicating compliance with the systems approach prescribed. This action expands an already successful Hass avocado import program with Mexico. Docket APHIS-2014-0088
For more information, please visit www.aphis.usda.gov.
Georgia citrus orchards work toward certification
The majority of trees in Georgia’s young citrus industry have come from other states, Citrus Industry reports. “That statistic could soon be changing, meaning that the majority of trees could come from nurseries within the state,” said Lindy Savelle, president of the Georgia Citrus Association.
Savelle reported that three greenhouses in Georgia have been inspected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) for compliance with plant protection and quarantine requirements. The most recent nursery to be inspected was Camilla Citrus Tree Source, in late May.
To pass the USDA and GDA inspection, a nursery must enter into a compliance agreement and build a USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service structure, “among many other things,” Savelle said. Triple B Nursery and Mill Creek Nursery previously went through the inspection process, and Savelle said at least two other Georgia nurseries are working toward certification.
Organic Compliance Committee
Mexico and the US working on the equivalence of organic products
Mexico's government, through the Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (SAGARPA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), established an Organic Compliance Committee, as a preamble to the signing of an equivalence agreement for organic products.
The head of the National Service of Health, Food Safety and Quality (SENASICA), Enrique Sanchez Cruz, and the Administrator of the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), Elanor Starmer, signed the terms of reference for the operation of the aforementioned Committee, as part of the negotiations to achieve the equivalence of organic production between Mexico and the United States.
Expectations are that, in 2017, the holder of SAGARPA, José Calzada, and his counterpart in the USDA sign an Organic Equivalency Agreement, which will optimize the safe trade of these kind of foods between both countries.
The agreement will increase the levels of cooperation and exchange of information, which should increase consumer confidence in organic products and increase the domestic supply of these goods to the benefit of both nations.
Perdue unveils new USDA Ethics App for Executive Branch employees
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today unveiled a new mobile application for Apple and Android devices to provide Executive Branch employees answers to questions about government ethics issues. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Ethics App is the first of its kind in the federal government.
“On my first day as Secretary of Agriculture, I emphasized USDA’s firm commitment to maintaining the highest degree of integrity and ethical behavior in keeping with President Trump’s ethics pledge,” Perdue wrote in an email to all USDA staff to announce the application. “As public servants, our greater understanding of these important rules will help serve USDA’s mission and our new motto to ‘Do right and feed everyone’ so that we enhance the American public’s confidence in the integrity and important work of the Department of Agriculture.”
The Ethics App brings to users’ fingertips short, easy-to-read summaries of federal ethics rules and Hatch Act limitations on political activity. It includes a comprehensive video library so that officials can quickly become familiar with these important rules at any time, whether in the office, off-site, or on official travel. It also contains a resources section so USDA employees can readily contact an ethics advisor at USDA. The application was designed to make compliance with the federal ethics rules a one-stop-shop for USDA employees, but the app is available to anyone with Android devices or Apple devices.