Aug 14, 2018
United Fresh Commends USDA for harmonized standard support

The United Fresh Produce Association’s work towards for harmony among food safety audits and wholesale buyers seems to be gaining traction.

Since June 2009, United Fresh has developed a “harmonized standard” for GAP food safety audits. The goal of the standard is “One audit by any credible third party, acceptable to all buyers,” according to the United Fresh website.

On Monday, both the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) and the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) issued press releases announcing that the USDA HGAP+ audit, based on the Harmonized Standard, attained technical equivalency with GFSI guidance.

In a released statement, United Fresh commended the USDA for taking this important step to respond to marketplace demands.

“Buyer requirements have evolved since the inception of Harmonized Standard, and United Fresh appreciates that USDA AMS has responded in a way that will increase market acceptance of the standard by successfully pursuing technical equivalence with GFSI,” said Jennifer McEntire, Vice President of Food Safety & Technology. “We commend the leadership and staff at USDA AMS for their support of the Harmonized Standard, and their willingness to pioneer the technical equivalence process.”

The HGAP+, available from USDA AMS, is the second audit based on Harmonized to be recognized by GFSI. A private audit, GLOBALG.A.P.’s Harmonized Produce Safety Standard, was benchmarked last year.

At the direction of the United Fresh Board of Directors, United Fresh has recently renewed efforts to refine, align, and promote market awareness of the Harmonized Standard. Individuals interested in participating in this open process may call McEntire at 202-303-3400.

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