Markon 5-Star Food Safety Audit Program
- Markon was the first to institute field-to-table food safety standards above and beyond government regulations, and it now sets the standard for the industry to follow. For more than 30 years, Markon has had a non-negotiable set of requirements for suppliers who pack its proprietary brands: Markon First Crop, Markon Best Available, Ready-Set-Serve and Markon Essentials. Throughout the years, the specific requirements have evolved, along with technology and science to ensure that they remain cutting edge.
- Markon refers to this comprehensive food safety program for brand suppliers as “5-Star Food Safety” because it addresses risks in five key areas, comprising fields, facilities, transportation, distributors and operator kitchens. Under the program, all grower-shipper fields and facilities are annually audited for good agricultural practices, good manufacturing practices and hazard analysis critical control points.
- Markon requires all brand suppliers to provide full traceback to the field level. Coding on both the master carton and internal packaging enables Markon and its supplier-partners to identify the source of the raw product that went into each carton, including harvest date, harvest field, field crew, processing team, etc. Not only does this help Markon troubleshoot quality issues when they arise, but in the event a foodborne illness is linked to a Markon brand item, the traceback coding would enable the company to isolate, recall and destroy suspect products, which stops the outbreak in its tracks.
- Markon inspectors, which are referred to as “boots in the field,” are an invaluable part of the company’s safety program. The full-time inspection staff walks the fields of the growers six days a week to ensure what customers receive is what they expect. Inspectors check product quality, size and weight specifications, growing conditions, weather patterns, worker welfare and overall sanitation. They visit cold rooms to inspect post-harvest storage temperatures, processing plants to review critical-control points and shipping facilities to oversee loading.
- In addition, Markon and its members promote sustainability and social responsibility through a host of initiatives driving energy waste out of the supply chain to lower everyone’s costs. It’s also dedicated to volunteerism to strengthen the communities they serve, and through strict adherence to food safety procedures above and beyond industry regulations, to provide customers with the safest produce the company can source.