Columbia Fresh Packing received USDA certifications

Kennewick, WA – Columbia Fresh Packing, a fresh produce packer located in Kennewick, Washington announced today that it has passed an audit and received USDA certification for Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Good Handling Practices (GHP). The packing shed passed rigid requirements and inspection to receive the certification.

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“We are excited to obtain the USDA certification,” said Brad Gentry, COO of Columbia Fresh. “It is great to be recognized for the good sanitary and packing practices that our shed provides,” he added. “We look forward to continued audits to keep us consistent in our handling practices,” added Dewight Hall, owner of Columbia Fresh.

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Columbia Fresh Packing packs fresh market apples and sweet cherries. The packing shed is located at Cherry Ridge Farms in Kennewick. Cherry Ridge grows 100 acres of fresh sweet cherries as well as 10 acres of apples.   The farm is also known for its annual Mother’s Day Flowering Basket sale held the first weekend of May each year. Almost 3,000 decorative baskets decorate many cities in the area.

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The USDA, Agricultural Marketing Service, Fruit and Vegetable Program, Specialty Crops Inspection (SCI) Division Audit Programs offers voluntary independent audits of produce suppliers throughout the production and supply chain. SCI Division Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) audits focus on best agricultural practices to verify that fruits and vegetables are produced, packed, handled, and stored in the safest manner possible to minimize risks of microbial food safety hazards. SCI Division GAP and GHP audits verify adherence to the recommendations made in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Guide to Minimize Microbial Food Safety Hazards for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables and industry recognized food safety practices.

In 2014, the USDA Audit Program performed over 3,800 Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Good Handling Practices (GHP) audits in 46 states and Canada, covering over 90 commodities.

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