ATLANTA, Nov. 2, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The Wallace Center at Winrock International together with FoodLogiQ announced a partnership today to support the recently expanded U.S. Department of Agriculture GroupGAP program. The federal program, officially announced nationally last month at the Produce Marketing Association's Fresh Summit, works to support small growers to become compliant with industry-accepted food safety standards.
Under the traditional "Good Agricultural Practices" – or GAP – programs, the USDA audits individual farms, but this process can be time consuming and costly for many small-to-medium sized farms. And with the increasing demand for locally sourced food, these growers have an amazing opportunity to expand their business – assuming they can become compliant with industry food safety standards.
Under the GroupGAP approach, groups of farms come together under a central entity and participate collectively to address food safety concerns and achieve third-party food safety certification as a group. Groups pool their resources to establish food safety best practices, lead food safety trainings, develop quality management systems, and pay for certification costs. In addition to regular audits from USDA inspectors, the groups also performed their own internal food safety inspections of their growers.
"Without third party certification, it is difficult for small to mid-size farmers to articulate their on-farm food safety practices to the buying community – even when their methods are already safe," said Wallace Center Director John Fisk. "That difficulty creates a real barrier keeping farms from accessing larger wholesale markets, including schools, hospitals, and grocery stores. We believe the GroupGAP program can help remove that barrier."
Working with the Wallace Center, FoodLogiQ will support the software and technology for the program through its cloud-based platform Connect, an online community for growers, packers, processors, shippers, restaurants, consumer product companies and food retailers to manage their food safety practices. Via the cloud-based software, participants in the GroupGAP program will be able to manage their communications, safety documentation, internal audits and product traceability.
"We are thrilled to be a part of this amazing program to support local farms," said Andy Kennedy, co-founder of FoodLogiQ. "By expanding the number of GAP-certified small farmers, we can build up small business, help retailers ensure their supply chain is safe and meet the increasing demand for locally-sourced food."
The announcement follows three years of successful trials for the GroupGAP program. The Wallace Center at Winrock International has been working with USDA Agricultural Marketing Service for several years to get to this point.
The USDA GAP Program will also be adjusted to support the landmark Food Safety Modernization Act rules announced last month. The program expansion could also increase the total number of growers in the supply chain who are GAP-certified, a win for the entire industry and American consumers.
About the Wallace Center at Winrock International
The Wallace Center, a business unit of Winrock International, has been a leading organization in the movement for a more sustainable and equitable food system for over 25 years. Today Wallace supports entrepreneurs and communities as they build a new, 21st century food system that is healthier for people, the environment, and the economy. Wallace Center serves the growing community of civic, business, and philanthropic organizations involved in building a new good food system in the United States. In particular, we are focused on advancing regional, collaborative efforts around the country to move good food – healthy, green, fair, affordable food – beyond the direct-marketing realm into larger scale, wholesale channels.
Our goals are to work with growers to ensure that there is abundant supply of good food to meet the strong consumer demand; to collect and disseminate the best models, stories, methods and outcomes in a dynamic and evolving sector; and to ensure that policy makers are informed about the wonderful successes our networks and partners have had, so that we continue to increase support for healthy, regional food. For more information visit www.wallacecenter.org.
FoodLogiQ® LLC is a leading software as a service (SaaS) provider of traceability, food safety and sustainability solutions enabling growers, packers, processors, shippers, restaurants, consumer product companies and food retailers to ensure they are providing safe food products to consumers. FoodLogiQ's Cloud-based platform combines traceability, food safety, sustainability, and mobile applications in a single integrated community collaborative application. FoodLogiQ customers include the top global brands. FoodLogiQ has a rapidly growing user base with over 1900 registered businesses in over 35 countries with 18,000 locations on our cloud platform. For more information visit www.FoodLogiQ.com.
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