Farm Fresh Produce, Inc. executed the first GRASP assessment in the United States. They received the highest possible rating on the GLOBALG.A.P. GRASP assessment, which is a social risk managing tool.

Steven Ceccarelli, Owner and President of Farm Fresh Produce, Inc., says “It has become common in the industry to state that you have the highest quality or an innovative approach. Quality is relatively simple to measure, to prove.  That sweet potato must taste and look good. Innovation must be proven and it is a journey, not a destination. You cannot rest on an accomplishment achieved years ago. There are infinite ways to improve the product, process, or customer experience. Reaching the highest rating on GLOBALG.A.P. GRASP is just one of many ways we are innovative.“
GRASP is a voluntary Add-on module that builds upon the worker health and safety requirements in GLOBALG.A.P.’s Integrated Farm Assurance Standard. GRASP stands for GLOBALG.A.P. Risk Assessment on Social Practice and includes critical issues such as worker representation, working hours, wages, and the fundamental ILO conventions. It is used to assess levels of social risk compliance in primary production and focuses on the review of certain control points for potential social risks on farms.

For Farm Fresh Produce, Inc., the GRASP assessment covered sweet potato growing, harvesting, and packing. "It will help us address important social issues and build awareness. Through the assessment process, we learned that this module isn’t pass or fail. It reports your exposure to social risk based on the national or international regulations and gives you the opportunity to find local ways to improve your operations, reducing that risk and meet growing market expectations about social practice. Each farm is evaluated on a case-by-basis, because you will have unique qualities due to the produce, operation size, etc. Once evaluated, you must keep documentation and procedures regarding the management of employees. Interviews with worker representatives and management representatives, document reviews, and inspections help determine your level of social risk compliance in a very effective way."

The President of Farm Fresh, Steven Ceccarelli expresses that "GLOBALG.A.P.’s GRASP risk assessment tool fits perfectly with the vision of our company. We have always emphasized the importance of our people. Our competition typically pays their employees the state minimum wage of $7.25 or close to that. Our lowest entry level jobs are paid a minimum of $10.00 an hour. We are a team. A positive work environment will have a beneficial effect on quality and productivity. A content employee will work harder and will be invested in the quality of product he/she touches. We felt it was our responsibility to have an assessement to understand our own levels of risk and building clear ways for employees to communicate their needs to us. We have many ideas and goals for our future. This goal is one we’d like to encourage our competition to achieve."

"GLOBALG.A.P. congratulates Farm Fresh Produce for taking this pioneering step in the US sweet potato industry. We believe that an integrated approach to addressing food safety and social practices in a single audit is an efficient and effective way for growers like Farm Fresh Produce to assure their supply chain partners of their responsible social practices on farm." - Roberta Anderson, Executive Vice President for GLOBALG.A.P. North America.

Farm Fresh Produce Inc.
GGN: 4056186493682

Photo: Courtesy of Farm Fresh Produce Inc.