EMERYVILLE, Calif. - Scientific Certification Systems, best known for developing NutriClean certification that guarantees produce is free of pesticide residue, has developed a comprehensive and far-reaching "Clean Food Standard."
In addition to addressing pesticide residues, the Clean Food Standard addresses food pathogens, industrial contaminants and heavy metals, and genetically modified organisms.
"This is a culmination of 20 years of work by us and other people addressing consumer concerns about the cleanliness of food," said Linda Brown, executive vice president of SCS. "This standard has performance measurements in it, and it's set to modern practices. It's meant to be a draft national standard much as the Veriflora standards are [to the floral industry]."
Brown pointed out that SCS knows growers who could qualify right now for Clean Food Standard certification.
"We know them, and their operations, through our NutriClean program," she said. "It just requires managing contaminants and being aware of food safety protocol. At this point, this is grower-driven. It's important that buyers know these programs exist."
The Clean Food Standard, which embodies the principles of the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point program, includes measurement requirements, said Wil Sumner, SCS's technical director of food and agriculture services.
"We're focusing on risk assessment and risk management," Sumner said. "You have an audit that focuses on the risk, measures the risk, and measures your success in preventing the risk. It takes food safety in produce production up to another level."
The standard also intends to support sustainable agriculture, Brown said. "This is the forerunner of sustainable agriculture."
Officials from SCS planned to roll out the program at the Produce Marketing Association's "Fresh Summit" trade show, taking place this month in San Diego. SCS is a third-party provider of certification, auditing and testing services.