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The International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) has bestowed upon Chiquita Brands’ Fresh Express subsidiary the prestigious Black Pearl Award for Corporate Excellence in Food Protection and Quality.
“Each year, IAFP honors a single company with our most prestigious award, the Black Pearl, in recognition of that company’s singular efforts in advancing food safety and quality,” said David Tharp, executive director of the Des Moines, Iowa-based association. “This year, we are pleased to recognize Fresh Express for its adherence to the highest standards of excellence in food protection, for its innovative leadership in prevention-based food safety practices, for its exceptional educational activities and for fostering a culture that is dedicated to continually furthering the principles and goals of outstanding food safety.”
Describing his company’s Black Pearl award “as a genuine honor and a humbling moment,” Fernando Aguirre, chairman/CEO of Cincinnati-based Chiquita, said: “Each week, millions of consumers enjoy Chiquita and Fresh Express products, with full confidence in their safety. A commitment to food safety is not only part of our strategy, but it is in our company DNA. We are very appreciative that this commitment to food safety has been recognized by the premier international food safety organization comprised of global food safety leaders.”
Aguirre added: “We believe this is a testament to the diligence, dedication and hard work of our team that ‘lives’ food safety each and every day. This is a milestone that we will celebrate as part of our continuous research and innovation toward even higher standards of effectiveness.”
Among the criteria that were enabled Fresh Express to win the Black Pearl Award:
—Examples of contributions to public health principles and food safety
—Evidence of products and services demonstrating a commitment to food safety
—Evidence that facilities are designed with food safety and sanitation as a primary concern
—Evidence of adherence to food safety regulations
—Evidence of community and consumer programming and education to promote food safety
—Evidence and support showing promotion of ethical and fair business practices
The Black Pearl Award will be officially presented to Chiquita-Fresh Express food safety executives at IAFP’s annual meeting in Anaheim, Calif., scheduled for Aug. 1 through Aug. 4. Past recipients of the Black Pearl have included Schnuck Markets, Inc.; 3M; Ecolab; DuPont; Walt Disney World; Kraft Foods; Darden; Albertsons; and HEB Grocery Co.