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    Mastronardi Wins Awards for Tomatoes, Food Quality

    Honors come from ITQI, and DuPont Qualicon and Food Quality magazine

    Mastronardi Produce’s Sunset Seriously Sweet tomatoes have won the International Taste & Quality Institute’s (ITQI) Superior Taste Award for its Kumato and Zima varieties --  the first time a fresh produce items have been granted this prestigious award.

    Based in Brussels, ITQI is the leading independent based organization dedicated to testing and promoting superior tasting food and drink from around the world. The Superior Taste Award is based on the blind judgment of chefs and sommeliers recognized as opinion leaders and experts in taste. Several hundred brands of food and drink from around the world participate in the ITQI Awards each year.

    “We are extremely proud that our gourmet tomatoes capture impressive awards such as this. Our company was built on flavor and quality, and these awards not only acknowledge our unwavering dedication to these principles, but [also] help further promote the fact that Sunset products are truly a taste experience,” said Paul Mastronardi, company president. “Customers continue to be in awe of the authentic taste that the Kumato possesses, and now the sweet full flavor that the Zima packs has both retailers and foodservice operators eager to keep their shelves stocked with such a hot item.”

    Zima tomatoes have received rave reviews for their notable taste profile, described as “unique” and “remarkable.” Zimas come in a unique snack-ready clamshell; the top label is resealable and peels back to expose an opening wide enough to allow the tomatoes to be dispensed. The bottom piece has vent holes that allow the water to drain for rinsing.

    Additionally, representatives of Mastronardi Produce/Sunset recently accepted the prestigious DuPont Food Quality Award for 2010. Judges from DuPont Qualicon and Food Quality magazine selected a fresh product company for the first time in the prize’s 10-year history.

    Mastronardi Produce was chosen as sole winner of the award honoring a North American business for outstanding food safety initiatives. According to one judge, Mastronardi won because “all aspects of the business appear to be aligned toward producing high-quality safe food within a sustainable environment.” Also noted by the panel were the company’s extensive community involvement and its “substantial investment in technology supported by very strong improvement and quantifiable results in all areas measured.”

    Paul Mastronardi said: “We have a solid team of dedicated professionals leading our food safety department and maintaining the programs that continue to keep us ahead of the game. Our goal is to provide the highest level of food safety and quality, and to continuously exceed government requirements. Our mandate is to constantly be proactive.”

    Joe Darden, VP of food safety, added: “It is an honor to be recognized for our outstanding efforts in food safety and quality with this award. I am proud to work for a company that demonstrates an unwavering passion and commitment to food safety, product quality, customer satisfaction, environmental concerns and support for community while maintaining competitive business results.”

    Presented April 20 during the Food Safety Summit in Washington, the Food Quality Award honors the dedication and achievement of a North American quality assurance/quality control team that has made exceptional contributions to food safety and consumer satisfaction, with a positive impact on business results. Other finalists this year were Berks Foods, Cargill Value Added Meats, Eat-n-Park, Hi-Tek Rations, Land O’Frost, Sabra Dipping Co. West, Sandridge Food Corp. and U.S. Foodservice.

    Mastronardi Produce began growing vegetables in Leamington, Ontario, in the 1920s and was a pioneer in building commercial greenhouses in North America in the 1940s. Family-owned and employee-managed for more than 60 years, Mastronardi grows tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers for top retailers across North America.

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