Bookmark and Share Email this page Email Print this page Print Feed Feed

Auditing Hawaii’s Organic Produce

Hawaii farmers benefit if they get organic and food-safety certification

    Maile Sacarob helps growers obtain safety and organic certification.
    Photo: Courtesy of Maile Sacarob

Hawaii could grow some of the world’s best and safest produce, says James Hollyer of the University of Hawaii, one of the many people who are working to make that happen.

Their tools include:

• Good agricultural practices (GAPs);
• Good manufacturing practice (GMP);
• Third-party audits, also known as food-safety certification.

“This is an issue of professionalism and respect for clients,” says Hollyer, of UH-Manoa’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources.

GAP and GMP audits are voluntary for many, but about 54 operations in the state have already received GAP certification. Similarly, roughly 300 farms and produce-handling operations are certified organic in line with the National Organic Program. That increasing number has been driven by consumer demand, says Maile Sacarob, an organic and food-safety auditor on the Big Island.

“Consumers want organic and food-safety certified foods,” says Sacarob, explaining that Safeway, Costco, wholesaler Armstrong Produce and many others require food-safety certification. The audits reassure buyers and consumers that the farmer is operating under the best, scientifically based practices. “People want the assurance that the food they are buying is healthy and safe.”

 

There are many options to help farmers and processors get certifications:

Agriculture Services Hawaii (Sacarob’s company)

Helps farmers reduce the cost and paperwork required for both organic and food-safety certifications.
www.agservicehawaii.com
 

UH’s College of Tropical Agriculture

(For first-time applicants)
Has a comprehensive coaching program to aid applicants before they are audited for food safety.
www.tinyurl.com/27qpbh3
 

Hawaii Department of Agriculture

Has a cost-share program for organic farmers. Certified organic producers and handlers may be reimbursed up to 75 percent of their costs for new or continued certification until Sept. 30, 2011.
(808) 973-9595 or
hdoa.md@hawaii.gov

Hawaii Business magazine invites you to comment on our articles and the issues they raise. Comments are moderated for offensive language, commercial messages and off-topic posts and may be deleted. Some comments may be chosen for inclusion in the magazine on the Feedback page.

Add your comment:

 

Don't Miss an Issue!
Hawaii Business,February