The United Fresh Produce Association (United Fresh) yesterday announced that it has collaborated with international standards body IFS to offer fruit and vegetable producers and packers a streamlined means to achieve GFSI-benchmarked certification with IFS Food and the United Fresh Harmonized Standard, as well as a one-stop approach using GLOBALG.A.P. for primary production.

Available immediately, the new IFS Food United Fresh Produce Program provides a method of certifying fruit and vegetable packing companies using the Harmonized Standard from United Fresh during an IFS Food audit. Designed to reduce cost and drive efficiency, the program will be introduced next week at United Fresh 2014 in Chicago, and will expand after a planned auditor training course in August.

IFS Food is one of the world’s foremost GFSI-benchmarked schemes. A United Fresh news release stated that since 2003, IFS has built its presence around the world as a leading standard owner for the food supply chain. In cooperation with United Fresh, IFS has developed a tool for fruit and vegetable producers and packing companies to get certified in the pre-farm area as well as in the post-farm area in a one-stop approach.

Additionally, a special qualification program develops pre-farm auditors to become IFS Food auditors for fruit and vegetable packing houses, according to United Fresh. This qualification program will allow for one auditor to perform both the pre-farm area audit (e.g. GLOBALG.A.P.) as well as the IFS Food audit for the packing house. This one-stop solution provides an opportunity for the fruit and vegetable business to become certified against GFSI-benchmarked schemes in both pre-farm and post-farm areas.