Produce supplier successfully combines food quality, safety and environmental innovation
Mastronardi Produce received the 2010 Food Quality Award at the 2011 Food Safety Summit. The company demonstrated integrity in product quality-and innovative ways of supporting sustainabilityThough he didn’t mention it in his acceptance speech at the 10th Annual Food Quality Award presentation held during the recent Food Safety Summit, Joe Darden, Mastronardi Produce vice president of food safety, could have said something about integrity, which certainly played a role in his company’s winning the 2010 Quality Award. The award presentation was cosponsored by DuPont Qualicon, Food Quality and BNP Media.
Mastronardi Produce began as a greenhouse operation in the 1940s in
The processor has its own employee staffed labs. One microbiology lab tests inbound and outbound products and packages, and a second lab specializes in shelf life, product quality and package testing. In addition to quality certifications, the company has products meeting both USDA and Canadian organic standards.
“Mastronardi Produce is committed to food safety and food quality. We have a solid team of dedicated professionals leading our food safety department and maintaining the programs that continue to keep us ahead of the game,” says Paul Mastronardi, president. “Our goal is to provide the highest level of food safety and quality, and to continuously exceed government requirements. Our mandate is to constantly be proactive.”
Innovation, according to Darden, has been responsible for several new products and packaging, traceability and environmentally related projects. In his talk, Darden described the processor’s packaged, small, sweet tomatoes that are being sold to kids as a nutritionally healthy substitute for candy. New packaging concepts produced thermal-wrapped cucumbers, plastic-packaged tomatoes and a clear, laminated, shear-resistant, resealing produce pack.
Darden claims his company is one of the first in the industry to implement traceability in 2002. “We feel it’s very important to trace back to our growers each unit package that we sell-whether it is a PLU sticker or a product label. We want to be able to know who the grower was of that particular product.”
Mastronardi’s track and trace system could be a model for other
producers. “Our [track-and-trace] system was featured during the
In addition to quality, sustainability is a core value of
Mastronardi. In fact, Darden described a symbiotic relationship between a
fertilizer factory and a new greenhouse growing plant in