Quality and Food Safety

Somerfield Farms has taken safety and quality to a whole new level! We partnered with the industry leader in agricultural technologies to provide state of the art systems to our farms. The technology collects data on all aspects of the growing and harvesting process, to the person that actually harvested the fruit. Our systems track each step of the process from when the bush is planted until the fruit reaches your home. The technology was developed around the farmers needs with a specific focus on safety and quality. These systems ensure social responsibility and give growers information necessary to improve production on existing land. Another great feature is in the event of fruit that isn’t perfect, we can immediately identify all related information to isolate it and take corrective action. Each package of berries produced from Somerfield Farms is labeled and complies with the best practices of The Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI). The PTI sets the standards for how the produce industry should label products. Their best practices are used to provide consistency throughout the supply chain and allow products to be immediately removed from stores in the event of a recall.

Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) are principles for production. Somerfield Farms and their partners not only adhere to the strictest GAP programs available, but we go beyond industry and regulatory compliance to take all necessary steps that ensure safe and quality fruit.

The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) uses Good Agricultural Practices as a collection of principles to apply for on-farm production and post-production processes, resulting in safe and healthy food and non-food agricultural products, while taking into account economic, social and environmental sustainability.

GAPs may be applied to a wide range of farming systems and at different scales. They are applied through sustainable agricultural methods,

  1. Economically and efficiently produce sufficient, safe and nutritious food
  2. GAPs require maintaining a common database on integrated production techniques for each of the major agro-ecological area, thus to collect, analyze and disseminate information of good practices in relevant geographical contexts.

The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service currently operates an audit/certification program to verify that farms use Good Agricultural Practices and/or Good Handling Practices. This is a voluntary program typically utilized by growers and packers to satisfy contractual requirements with retail and food service buyers. The program was implemented in 2002 after the New Jersey Department of Agriculture petitioned USDA-AMS to implement an audit based program to verify conformance to the 1998 Food & Drug Administration publication entitled, "Guide to Minimize Microbial Food Safety Hazards for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables."