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Giorgio Fresh Company currently implementing PTI

Giorgio Fresh Company in Temple, PA, is a leading and fully integrated mushroom producer that sells its conventional and organic mushroom lines to retailers, wholesalers, foodservice operators and industrial customers.

“Giorgio is currently implementing the Produce Traceability Initiative,” said Bill Litvin, regional sales and national account manager for the company. “PTI will enable us to meet the demands and requirements of the industry.”

The company’s state-of-the-art packing operation is Safe Quality Food Level-3 certified.

“Level-3 is the highest level of certification offered,” said Mr. Litvin. “The Safe Quality Food Institute is the leader in providing the world’s most recognized and trusted food-safety and quality certification program. SQFI is a division of the Food Marketing Institute, an association that conducts programs in public affairs, food safety, research, education and industry relations on behalf of its 1,500 member companies — food retailers and wholesalers — in the United States and around the world.

Mr. Litvin said that Giorgio Fresh is proud to be participating in the Mushroom’s Council’s “Pink Till” campaign in October. The initiative involves partnering with retail customers to fill their mushroom tills with pink packages labeled with the recognizable pink breast cancer ribbon. The campaign is aimed at kicking off National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The promotion will support breast cancer research at City of Hope, one of the nation’s leading cancer research institutions. Since 2002, the Mushroom Council has awarded City of Hope with more than $750,000 in grants for lab studies and pilot clinical trials on cancer and mushrooms.

Giorgio Fresh has one of the larger single-site mushroom growing operations in the United States, and it is among the larger mushroom growers in the country. Its conventional line of fresh mushrooms includes whole white, sliced white, Baby Bella, Portabella caps, Portabella sliced, Shiitake mushrooms and Oyster mushrooms. The company also has an extensive line of organic mushrooms and is certified organic by Pennsylvania Certified Organic. It distributes from Maine to Florida, and west to Missouri and Minnesota. The company also distributes in Texas and Arizona.

Mr. Litvin said that the company is seeing an increased interest in specialty mushroom varieties.

“The interest in Oyster and Shiitake mushrooms is particularly strong,” he said. “People are looking for new ways to add excitement to their meals, and there is no better way to do that than by using nutritious and flavorful mushrooms. There is also a growing demand for organic varieties in both the specialty and the white and brown categories. Organics are doing well across the board today. In our experience, the downed economy is not having an effect on the specialty mushroom category. People continue to make their purchasing decisions based on their priorities.”

All of Giorgio’s mushroom-growing farms are certified by Mushroom Good Agricultural Practices. The audit establishes guidelines to reduce the chance of foodborne pathogens and other possible food-safety concerns.

Mushrooms grown at Giorgio Fresh that are not certified organic grow according to the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques. “IPM practices reduce our reliance on pesticides,” Mr. Litvin explained. “IPM techniques are a sustainable method of growing that uses shorter crop cycles, pest exclusion, biological controls, strict farm sanitation and sound growing practices that produce healthy, disease-resistant crops.”