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FOOD SAFETY: A PASSION FOR FRUIT, A CONCERN FOR FLAWLESS QUALITY

FOOD SAFETY: A PASSION FOR FRUIT, A CONCERN FOR FLAWLESS QUALITY

Food safety is a prime concern at Les vergers Boiron. For the past 40 years, throughout the chain, from regulation to delivery, from cultivation to processing, it is a point that we constantly watch.

For more information, we spoke with to Christiane Garnier, who has been in charge of Quality Control and Food Safety for over 17 years.

Les vergers Boiron cultivates a passion for fruits and vegetables and supplies premium customers worldwide. Presumably quality and reliability of products are key?

Christiane Garnier: Not presumably, it's a reality. It starts upstream to growing the fruit and vegetables. For example, we permanently monitor regulations concerning pesticides in each geographic zone. The strictest one is the Les vergers Boiron standard. On that basis, we can anticipate problems and promote best practice with our suppliers.

We have chosen to establish sustainable relations with them. They are our partners.  We refuse spot purchases! Our suppliers undergo a strict selection process and are required to comply with our specifications on quality criteria, environmental norms, food safety, from crop management to delivery. In return, we uphold our commitments made to them. This trusting relationship is also a means of prevention. Our criteria are strict but responsible.

Is traceability therefore crucial?

Christiane Garnier: Traceability is by nature fundamental. For us it is part of the process. From a finished product and even after its delivery, we can track the incoming product and all its production features: day, person, machine, storage. Everything should be identified and traceable in the event of an accident.

Traceability is by nature fundamental. For us it is part of the process.

The company's responsibility is to sell a safe product. All incoming batches, without exception, are tested to validate compliance of our specifications and they can be refused.

We permanently consult the European Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed database, which identifies all incidents. We can thus decide to implement a specific surveillance plan. Our studies and risk controls are very strict: on foreign bodies, bacteriological risks, pest risks. All our procedures are written, transmitted to all relevant persons, tested and reinforced by regular checks.
Food safety also ranges from the arrival of the raw material to the end product. It is also strengthened by our independence. We alone decide on controls and processes, 100% adapted to our sector and totally uncompromising.

Food safety is written in our DNA.


Do all these policies affect product quality?

Christiane Garnier: They do more than that, they optimise it. Upstream, we involve our suppliers in a general control approach that covers crop, picking and labelling practices. This is extended in our departments by visual, organoleptic and physical and chemical tests. Besides a High Environmental Quality approach and ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certifications, our Valence production plant has applied the HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) method since 1996. Our staff is permanently trained and involved.

Our products are only marketed once all checks (critical points, organoleptic and physical and chemical features, packaging) are deemed to be compliant.

Behind all the varieties of strawberries and raspberries we offer, there is a tremendous commitment from all players to produce healthier, preservative-free products that enhance the natural aspect and essential quality of fruit.

Are your customers aware of your commitments in this area?

Christiane Garnier: Our customers are professionals. Like us, they know the importance of monitoring, checking, tracking and following up our products' processing stages. That is why they are loyal and we get them involved in our quality approach by offering them advice on how to use our products.

When we set up protocols linked to food safety, they know that it is due to our respect for the product and our customers. We share a passion for fruit and vegetables and a concern for flawless quality.

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