U.S. Foodservice helps set food safety standard

ROSEMONT,  Ill. (May 17, 2010)—U.S. Foodservice is continuing its commitment to food safety by hosting a technical working group established to standardize the Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs), or, food safety standards, in the United States. The meeting of the “Produce Harmonization Initiative,” as it is known in the food industry, is in Rosemont, Illinois, from May 12-13.

This influential group of industry representatives is working to develop a single set of national standards for the produce industry in the United States that can be audited, recognized and accepted globally by all segments of the food industry. The result of the initiative would enhance consumers’ protection from potential hazards that may contaminate produce at the farm-level. Participants include some of America’s most respected organizations, including Chiquita/Fresh Express, McDonald’s, Sunkist Growers, Target, Taylor Farms, and the United Fresh Produce Association.

The goal of the technical working group is to develop the best food safety standards to protect consumers. The first draft of these standards is expected by October 1, 2010.

“We work in partnership with other industry leaders to create a continuous improvement cycle for food safety standards,” said Jorge Hernandez, U.S. Foodservice’s senior vice president, food safety and quality assurance. “This work is crucial to the constant enhancement of consumer protection in the United States.”

Hernandez is responsible for setting the food safety and quality standards for the U.S. Foodservice distribution centers, food processing facilities, and private label products, and is an advocate of the continuous improvement and harmonization of food safety standards across the world. He shared the company’s best practices in food protection for agricultural suppliers at the 2009 GLOBALGAP conference in Montevideo, Uruguay.

About Jorge Hernandez

Jorge Hernandez is senior vice president, Food Safety and Quality Assurance for U.S. Foodservice. He is a sanitarian, a certified food safety instructor, a past FDA standardization officer and serves as a board member of the Produce Marketing Association (PMA), GLOBALGAP, Food Safety System Certification 2200, and Advocate Healthcare’s Advocate Charitable Foundation. He is also a member of the NRA’s Quality Assurance Executives Study Group, the Global Food Safety Initiative’s (GFSI) Technical Committee, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Accreditation Committee and the Conference for Food Protection (CFP). Jorge also served as a scientific member of the National Egg Board’s Food Safety Advisory Panel and the International HACCP Alliance Board.

About U.S. Foodservice

U.S. Foodservice is one of the country’s premier foodservice distributors, offering more than 43,000 national, private label and signature brand items and an array of services to its more than 250,000 customers. The company proudly employs 25,000 associates in more than 60 locations nationwide who are poised to serve customers beyond their expectations. As an industry leader, with access to resources beyond the ordinary, U.S. Foodservice provides the finest quality food and related products to neighborhood restaurants, hospitals, schools, colleges and universities, hotels, government entities and other eating establishments.

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