Wegmans has announced that as of Sept. 30, the grocery store chain will require all of its fresh produce growers to pass a Good Agricultural Practices inspection.
In 2008, the chain began phasing in the requirement for growers of high-risk crops like spinach and melons and has expanded the program in recent years. The inspection will now be required of all growers supplying the company.
Bill Pool, Wegmans’ food safety manager for produce, said that nearly all of the chain’s growers have already passed GAP audits.
Larger growers completed them soon after they became available, but the smaller ones didn’t have the same resources so the company worked with research universities to educate the smaller growers on the audits and food safety issues behind GAP recommendations.
Wegmans has also reimbursed them $400 to help offset costs associated with a completed and verified audit.
“The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act has an exemption for small farms, but we believe that rigorous food safety standards should apply to all farms we work with,” Pool said.© Food Safety News