Massachusetts-based Ocean Spray has become the first sweetened dried cranberry manufacturer to achieve Safe Quality Food (SQF) certification for food manufacturing and distribution.
Paul DaRosa, the company’s director corporate quality, told FoodNavigatorUSA.com: “The SQF is known around the world and ensures that food manufacturers have passed rigorous food safety and quality management standards.”
The SQF program offers the most comprehensive Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) audit scheme, he added. This scheme adds a food quality program (Level III) to the standard food safety/HACCP program (Level II) certification.
The other three GFSI programs (BRC, IFS and Dutch HACCP), only offer the food safety program certification.
Ocean Spray’s four manufacturing sites, sited in Markham, WA, Tomah, WI, Wisconsin Rapids, WI and Middleboro, MA were awarded SQF 2000 Code Level III certification by NSF International in recognition of their “comprehensive food safety and quality management systems.”
To win certification, suppliers must complete a food quality assessment of their product and production processes. Companies are also required to identify the controls needed to ensure consistent food safety and quality levels, meet buyer product specifications and satisfy domestic and international regulatory requirements.
“Ocean Spray’s investment in this certification emphasizes to our customers that we assure stringent controls in providing the best ingredients to the marketplace,” said DaRosa.
Mike Stamatakos, vice president agricultural supply and development, added: ‘As supply chains become increasingly complex, investing in food safety and quality assurance is crucial. Manufacturers expect suppliers to demonstrate evidence of strict food safety and quality management systems.”
The SQF Program is a globally recognized food safety and quality certification and management system. The program provides independent certification that a supplier’s food safety and quality management system complies with international and domestic food safety regulations.
The company’s sweetened dried cranberries are used in products such as such as cereals, trail mix and baked goods. They are said to be highly process tolerant, easy to incorporate into production processes and offer innovation opportunities in a variety of product categories.
Meanwhile, last year’s US cranberry harvest totaled about 6.8m barrels.