Tomato growers Backyard Farms of Madison, Maine, was awarded the 13th annual Food Quality and Safety Award at a special ceremony on April 9 during the Food Safety Summit in Baltimore, Md. Sponsored by DuPont Nutrition & Health and presented by Food Quality & Safety magazine, the prestigious honor recognizes a North American quality assurance department or program each year that has made significant improvements in food safety and quality.
“At Backyard Farms, we bring the same dedicated attention to quality and safety to our tomato plants that our consumers would expect in their own backyard gardens,” said Mark Queenan, director of quality assurance and food safety at Backyard Farms. “We have a tradition of ‘food quality first’ that is woven into the fabric of everything we do at Backyard Farms. From our management team to pickers and packers, we embrace and are committed to continuous evaluation and improvement in the areas of food safety and quality practices.”
The company’s 42-acre greenhouse and pack houses are fully certified by the Produce Harmonized Good Agricultural Practices Initiative and Global Food Safety Initiative. The company ensures that each hand-picked tomato passes a series of rigorous quality checks that monitor, measure, and analyze established parameters designed to meet and exceed USDA Tomato Standards.
In the company’s first year of operation in 2007, Backyard Farms was the first farm in the state of Maine to be USDA GAP (Good Agricultural Practices) certified. In 2010, the company was the first farm in Maine and all of New England to be SQF (Safe Quality Foods) Level 3 certified. And in 2012, Backyard Farms was the first farm in Maine to be GAP Harmonized certified and is currently working towards Global GAP PSS certification.
Be sure to check out the special in-depth profile of Backyard Farms in the upcoming June/July 2014 issue of Food Quality & Safety magazine!