GLOBALG.A.P. North America Announces First Latin American Banana Imports Covered by Produce Handling Assurance Certification

PORTLAND, Oregon – GLOBALG.A.P. North America is pleased to announce that North American retailers seeking packhouse-level food safety certification for suppliers in Latin America now have the option of GLOBALG.A.P.’s Produce Handling Assurance (PHA) standard.  Equifruit, North America’s leading Fairtrade-certified banana importer sourcing from Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, Mexico, and Nicaragua recently worked with Ecuadorian banana grower, Asoguabo, to be the first operation outside of the US with PHA certification.

PHA provides food safety and traceability certification of postharvest activities such as the cooling, packing, handling, and storage of crops for human consumption. It is recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) and supports compliance with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). PHA can be combined with GLOBALG.A.P.’s Integrated Farm Assurance (IFA) or Harmonized Produce Safety Standard (HPSS) to provide a complete certification option for producers with on-farm packing or other postharvest activities.

“We recognize that some buyers prefer a stand-alone food safety certification that addresses HACCP for packing operations,” said Roberta Anderson, President of GLOBALG.A.P. North America. “However, many of the standards out there were designed for more complex postharvest operations that include processing. The GLOBALG.A.P. PHA standard is specifically developed for operations doing packing, cooling and storage – whether on the farm or at an independent facility. We work closely with sector stakeholders to ensure we are setting robust, yet realistic and cost-efficient standards while still meeting the evolving needs of buyers.”

“Our company takes pride in being innovators in the marketplace in the banana sector.   When we were first approached by a North American retailer about certification at the packhouse level, we were delighted to collaborate with Asoguabo, which is a world leader of Fairtrade banana exports” said Jennie Coleman, President at Equifruit.

“Asoguabo already holds GLOBALG.A.P.’s Integrated Farm Assurance certification for the farming operations, so it just made sense to add PHA for the packing facilities.” said Lianne Zoeteweij, CEO at Asoguabo.  “GLOBALG.A.P. certification standards are trusted worldwide with a large network of certification bodies that could support us in Latin America.” 

Once prepared for the audit, Asoguabo selected Control Union as the certification body to conduct the GLOBALG.A.P. audit and issue the certificate. “Control Union provides auditing and certification services for GLOBALG.A.P. standards around the world,” said William Izurieta Pincay, Operations Manager – Ecuador at Control Union.  “We are excited to be the first to bring GLOBALG.A.P.’s PHA standard to Latin America to complement their farm-level standards.  This streamlines food safety certification for fresh produce destined for the USA and Canada.”

Packing facilities owned by Victor Marquez were the first to achieve PHA certification.  A total of fifteen Asoguabo packing operations are aiming for certification over the course of the next year.  “We are grateful for Equifruit’s partnership in helping us meet the needs of North American retailers,” said Lianne Zoeteweij, CEO at Asoguabo. “We pride ourselves on our progressive approach to certifications that benefit everyone along the supply chain.”


GLOBALG.A.P. is a brand of smart farm assurance solutions developed by FoodPLUS GmbH in Cologne, Germany, with cooperation from producers, retailers, and other stakeholders from across the food industry. These solutions include a range of standards for safe, socially, and environmentally responsible farming practices. The most widely used GLOBALG.A.P. standard is Integrated Farm Assurance (IFA), applicable to fruit and vegetables, aquaculture, floriculture, livestock, and more. This standard also forms the basis for the GGN label: The consumer label for certified, responsible farming and transparency.

The GLOBALG.A.P. brand began its journey as EUREPGAP in 1997. Now, 25 years later, over 200,000 producers are under GLOBALG.A.P. certification in 134 countries. Nearly 150 team members around the world are dedicated to the mission of spreading responsible farming practices to ensure safe food for future generations.

GLOBALG.A.P. North America, Inc., is a subsidiary company dedicated to serving the needs of the USA and Canada markets.

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