Oregon Meat Co First to Gain Sustainable Certificate

by 5m Editor
18 March 2008, at 2:49pm

PORTLAND - Demand for Transparency in Meat Industry has inspired Oregon-based Fulton Provision Company to become the first meat processor to attain a US certificate for sustainable business practices.

The third-party audit, conducted by Food Alliance, covers labour conditions, resource conservation and waste management. It is the most comprehensive sustainable agriculture and food handling certification in North America.

Fulton says its motivation to become certified came from its customers. Consumers are demanding greater transparency in the food industry regarding origins, characteristics, and social and environmental impacts along with assurances for health and food safety.

“More questions are being asked about where food comes from and how it was grown. As a meat processor and distributor, we see sustainability as extending the commitment we have to food safety to a broader context of protecting human and environmental health,” said Tom Semke, Sr. Vice president of Sales and Marketing for Fulton.

To become a Food Alliance Certified processor and distributor, the company underwent a comprehensive audit of their facilities that covered a range of concerns, including:

  • Handling of Food Alliance Certified products
  • Provision of safe and fair working conditions
  • Reduction of toxic and hazardous materials
  • Conservation of energy
  • Conservation of water
  • Reduction of waste with reuse and recycling
  • Quality control and food safety
  • Continuous improvement of practices

Fulton undergoes a variety of other audits to meet the requirements of customers and its parent company, Sysco Corporation.

“The Food Alliance audit covers different ground “It’s very comprehensive in terms of social and environmental issues,” added Semke.

Leading the Chain

Scott Exo Executive Director of the Food Alliance said that Fulton was showing real leadership in the meat industry. “This level of transparency definitely adds value for commercial food buyers and for consumers,” he said. And Fulton's customers agree.

The Bon Appétit Management Company is committed to good food and to sustainability and says it is working with its partner suppliers to achieve both those ends.

"It means something when a partner like Fulton is willing to take that extra step and get Food Alliance Certified. It gets my attention,” said Mark Swenson, the company's Regional Vice President

And Tara Wefers, Chief Development Officer with Burgerville, supports his comments. "Sustainability is good business, and we’re focused on aligning all parts of our company with our values. We’ve had a strong partnership with Fulton for 47 years. Their commitment to environmental performance and their work with Food Alliance Certified ranchers are good examples why Fulton fits our values,” she said.

Reducing Impacts

Fulton has already taken significant steps to reduce its environmental footprint. It has installed energy efficient lighting; self-closing doors on all coolers; recycling systems for paper cardboard, steel drums, aluminum, and damaged pallets; it uses biodiesel in its delivery vehicles, and enforced minimum tonnage requirements for all delivery routes. The company also employs a recycling water system with chillers on two of its packaging machines to prevent clean city water from being pumped into the sewer.

Fulton also aims to improve its environmental footprint with the addition if more recycling water chillers, the replacement of older processing machines with more efficient models and more package recycling for films. It is also working with a company to develop a method for converting solid, inedible fat and trimmings into biodiesel. The company also runs a pilot education partnership with Work Force Oregon and the Mount Hood Community College to provide educationally challenged job seekers with food safety and sanitation skills.

For further information visit www.Food Alliance

5m Editor