NSF International, the leading food safety certification body in North America, now offers Certified Greenhouse Farmers (CGF) certification globally for the CGF trade association, which enables greenhouse growers to demonstrate sustainable production practices and quality management systems while also verifying they meet superior food safety practices.
The certification can be an addendum performed in conjunction with a Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) food safety certification audit, bundled with other food safety audits or sustainability services, or an independent certification, reducing producers’ costs.
As greenhouse-grown produce becomes more prevalent in supermarkets, consumers and retailers are looking for reliable quality and sustainable sourcing options. CGF certification and the associated Certified Greenhouse seal ensures that produce was grown in an environment meeting strict standards for production, food safety and environmental stewardship, including water conservation, waste reduction, recycling and pest and disease management.
“Independent validation of sustainability and quality claims is crucial for greenhouse growers in this innovative industry to market their produce. We look forward to using our auditing and certification expertise with the Certified Greenhouse Farmers trade association to evaluate additional greenhouses’ quality management and sustainable production practices,” said Jaclyn Bowen, General Manager of NSF Agriculture.
“Food safety is an obvious priority for consumers. But, consumers also want their food grown in a sustainable manner. CGF members recognize that consumer demand, which is why our members are audited for food safety, sustainability and environmental standards," said Ed Beckman, President of Certified Greenhouse Farmers. "NSF is uniquely positioned to audit to that series of standards which ensures the integrity of the CGF certification seal found on greenhouse vegetables produced by our members.”
Before seeking CGF certification, greenhouses must be members of the Certified Greenhouse Farmers association and meet the organization’s definition of a greenhouse. This includes meeting requirements such as growing in a permanent, enclosed glass or plastic structure, using computerized irrigation and climate control, growing in a soilless medium with hydroponic methods, and employing an integrated pest management system to minimize the need for pesticides. An additional requirement for CGF certification is completing a GFSI-benchmarked food safety audit, either prior to or in conjunction with CGF certification.
Final CGF certification for high-tech greenhouses requires a yearly audit against CGF’s greenhouse growing standards, including structural and environmental controls, water resource management, pest management procedures and integrated waste management. Upon certification, produce grown by a certified operation is authorized to display the Certified Greenhouse seal.
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