Demand among foodservice operators for locally grown produce is on the
rise, but so are questions about how to ensure its safety. To that end,
Pro*Act, one of America's leading distributors of fresh produce to the
foodservice industry, has published two new guidance documents to increase
understanding and use of proper food-safety standards and procedures in
this burgeoning business.
The two Pro*Act documents are Food Safety Requirements for Suppliers of
Locally Grown Produce and Food Safety Questionnaire for Locally Grown
The first, targeted at local farmers, covers requirements for conditions and
procedures that govern food safety as it applies to produce grown for local
These requirements are derived from Pro*Act's existing industry-leading
food-safety standards and are modified for smaller producers. "Local
suppliers are typically small farmers, and their operations tend to be seasonal
and small scale," Max Yeater, chief operating officer, said in a press release.
"They may lack written procedures, record-keeping and verification of food-
safety programs. We created these food-safety standards and procedures for
'buy local' business to help smaller farmers understand the procedures that
must be followed."
The second document is a questionnaire designed to help Pro*Act
distributors determine if a local farmer is complying with the group's
stringent food-safety requirements. "As a distribution organization, we're
seeing more operators seeking out locally grown produce, and we're working
to help meet the demand by getting local products into our distribution
system," Mr. Yeater said in the release. "But just as with our national-brand
produce, we need to assure that sufficient food-safety features are built into
the process. The questionnaire is designed as a tool to help our distributors
be able to do that in their local markets."
The two food-safety guidance documents are the result of a collaborative
effort between Pro*Act management and a working group of distributors with
significant local grower business.