GLOBALG.A.P.'s Roberta Anderson Offers Behind-the-Scenes Look at Integrated Farm Assurance
PORTLAND, OR - Recently, GLOBALG.A.P. launched its revised Integrated Farm Assurance (IFA) as part of a new smart farm assurance solutions vision. To learn more about the launch, I spoke with Roberta Anderson, Executive Vice President of GLOBALG.A.P. North America.
“Integrated Farm Assurance (IFA) is GLOBALG.A.P.’s flagship standard,” Roberta began. “It takes a holistic approach to responsible farming, covering food safety, environmental sustainability, workers’ health, and safety. For producers, IFA helps to improve farm management, raise the efficiency of farm operations, and enable access to both domestic and international markets through compliance with a globally recognized standard. For supply chain stakeholders, sourcing from IFA-certified production helps to ensure food safety, mitigate reputational risks, protect product integrity, demonstrate commitment to responsible farming practices, and enable reliable and trusted supply.”
IFA is a foundation upon which other GLOBALG.A.P. standards and modules can be added to create a solution to meet market needs. The newest version features a more outcome-oriented approach, meaning more flexibility in demonstrating compliance; a streamlined and customized checklists for a simpler, more efficient experience for the producer; and a continuous improvement plan for producers which aids identification of target areas to improve by analyzing practices.
As this solution rolls out, GLOBALG.A.P. will be initiating training for certification bodies (CBs) and the public this summer.
“With the publication of IFA v6, we will now begin the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) benchmarking process for this new version. Then we will expand promotion in the North America market once GFSI recognition is achieved in 2023,” Roberta noted. “GLOBALG.A.P. North America will be partnering with industry associations and producer groups to spread the word and can provide customized informational webinars to guide people through v6.”
Throughout the v6 development phase, GLOBALG.A.P. North America engaged its region’s farms and buyers to ensure the needs of the United States and Canadian markets were reflected in the new standard.
“We are seeing increasing interest from North American buyers to ensure that environmental sustainability and social responsibility requirements are being met in addition to food safety,” Roberta continued. “Meanwhile, producers are seeking ways to credibly demonstrate their efforts and achievements in these areas without adding costly audits. GLOBALG.A.P. is well-positioned to support both with the holistic approach of IFA.”
For example, GLOBALG.A.P. IFA is a GFSI-recognized certification accepted under the Walmart Pollinator Health Position commitment to source 100 percent of the fresh produce and floral from suppliers that adopt integrated pest management practices, as verified by a third-party, by 2025. In this case, the IFA certificate meets Walmart’s food safety and environmental requirements with a single audit.
It’s essential to have these programs in place, and GLOBALG.A.P. is making it that much easier for suppliers and buyers alike to use that certification to their advantage.
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