September 13, Nogales, Arizona – As certain growing regions of Mexico are coming to a close on their summer programs, the higher volume areas are set to begin throughout the usual harvesting areas of Jalisco and Sinaloa. Continuing on a campaign implemented last season, “Better Grower Program”, Divine Flavorvisits with its suppliers, AC1 Cueto and Agricola Cueto Produce to review the area of traceability in lieu of the season starting.
In recent months, both suppliers have implemented better traceability programs into their companies, using smartphone applications to fully track and manage their product. After spending a day with the food safety managers at each ranch, Vianey Camacho of AC1 Cueto and Anaily Almejo of Agricola Cueto Produce, Divine Flavor personnel was given a thorough demonstration of their how their processes comply with the industry and distributor requirements.
While speaking with the manager at each company, both agreed great traceability comes from the policies and procedures established by the company, executed and supervised by the managers. “To have good processes from the beginning is very important to maintain good practices of traceability,” said Camacho. “Proper supervision of the processes must be carried out and making sure the teams of the greenhouses and packing house are adequately trained.”
Vianey Camacho (AC1 Cueto - Food Safety Manager).
Anaily Almejo y Celene Zamudio (Agrícola Cueto - Food Safety managers).
“It is our responsibility to have clear and practical information when tracking the path of our product,” said Almejo when explaining the responsibility of a producer. “We must be consistent with our teams and make sure the information needed is reported every step of the process. This allows us to quickly react if a situation was to arise.” It was also mentioned their teams conduct monthly recalls to practice the process of tracking product from the final customer back to the greenhouses they came from.
In the 2018-2019 season, foodborne illnesses in the US were reported to be at an all-time high (nearly 26,000) and the industry saw the most multistate outbreaks in more than a decade. Agencies such as the FDA and CDC, and customers alike are more alert from this past year’s reporting, which is why growers of fresh agricultural commodities are revamping their food safety programs and integrating new traceability systems with better technology to be more prepared.
“Having accurate traceability is crucial for farmers because it allows us to identify what, where, when, why, and how the problem arise,” Camacho explained. “Not only for contamination problems, but if there’s issues with the quality of the product in the market place, we can avoid these occurrences by knowing which greenhouse the product came from. Traceability is a powerful tool to prevent problems from getting bigger.”
AC1 Cueto and Agricola Cueto Produce are greenhouse house suppliers of Divine Flavor, specializing in organic and conventional bell peppers, mini peppers, and grape tomatoes. The companies are set to begin harvesting higher volumes in the coming weeks.
Vianey Camacho (AC1 Cueto - Food Safety Manager) and a field supervisor completing a "Product Exit and Receipt" form showing the information to complete of every product and then can enter to the packing house.
Anaily and Miguel showing us the how to complete the form on the software and how it create the PTI serial number.
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Coordinador de Relaciones Públicas, Divine Flavor, LLC