Golden Heritage Foods recently has become the first and only honey supplier in the country to be certified as a Level 3 performer by the Safe Quality Food Institute.
The Level 3 certfication by SQF, a division of the Food Marketing Institute, puts Golden Heritage Foods in an exclusive group that includes only three companies worldwide.
Eric Wenger, director of quality services for Golden Heritage, said the Hillsboro-based company has for years maintained certification for its good manufacturing practices and has developed and followed a ?Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points? program.
To earn the rigorous SQF Level 3 certification, a food supplier must also develop and maintain a quality and safety management system that provides continuous control of food safety and quality aspects of their business.
SQF codes are divided into three certification levels:
n Level 1 is comparable to existing food safety audit certifications by AIB and Silliker.
n Level 2 is the expected minimal level of safety for any food supplier.
n Level 3 requires the supplier, in addition to meeting Level 1 and Level 2, to complete and document a food-quality assessment of the product and its associated process to identify the controls needed to ensure a consistent level of quality.
Doug Weinbrenner, Golden Heritage chief executive officer, said achieving SQF Level 3 is in keeping with one of the company?s core values ?to provide product and service solutions for quality-minded customers.?
Wenger added: ?In the current environment of frequent recalls and sagging consumer confidence, every food manufacturer should pursue excellence and never settle for ?good enough? or look at the least common denominator with an industry.
?What this level of certification translates directly to the consumer is the assurance that the manufactured item is produced to the specification of the customer?the Krogers and Wal-Marts of the world?and ensures that no product is manufactured to less than those established standards.?
Golden Heritage Foods processes and sells millions of pounds of honey under various private brand names nationwide, as well as its own Busy Bee brand. It has two state-of-the-art facilities. The Hillsboro plant includes the corporate office; the second plant is located in Van Wert, Ohio.