MOXEE, Wash. — Roy Farms is the first hop farm in the United States and second in the world to become GlobalGAP food safety certified.
The GlobalGAP Integrated Farm Assurance Standard covers the entire production process from origin and propagation of material before planting through the growing season, harvest, processing and storage of finished product. Certification by third-party auditors follows standards based on guidelines of the International Organization for Standardization and the International Electrotechnical Commission.
The program reduces food safety risks, improves on-farm sustainability by conserving natural resources and reduces risk of non-compliance with national and international regulations and standards, said Carman McKinney, manager of food safety and sustainability at Roy Farms.
“This helps enforce a solid, valid system that will help us in the marketplace and establish relationships with brewers who want safe sustainable products,” McKinney said.
Most importantly, she said, it is in keeping with the company’s vision to “consistently provide and be recognized as the premier provider of ag products and services to the leaders of the industries” it serves.
Certification covers worker health and safety, field sanitation, hygiene, chemical storage and applications, irrigation, product traceability and other factors, she said.
Writing and implementation of policies with training took one year. Among many new steps, Roy Farms now uses color-coded tickets with each truckload of hops from the field to the picking plant as one step in traceability, McKinney said.
A horn sounds when the picking machine starts and stops. Trucks run on propane. Baling room and pelletizing forklifts run on propane and food-grade oils. USDA-certified organic tree lignin is used for parking lot dust control. Workers wear booties over their shoes when walking in the hop drying beds to use an instrument checking moisture content.
Earlier this year, Roy Farms became the first hop farm in Washington to be Salmon-Safe certified on 150 acres of its 3,500 acres of hops. The certification is for following practices beneficial to salmon.
GlobalGAP certification is for all 3,500 acres of hops and the company’s acreage devoted to apples, cherries and blueberries.