Improving the Health of our Consumers and our Growers

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Photo courtesy of World Health Organization

This week, on April 7, we celebrated World Health Day. The WHO, organizers of the international day of awareness, focused its message this year on food safety: “From farm to plate, make food safe.”

The mishandling of foods can cause more than 200 diseases, from diarrhea to even cancer. This is why it’s important to make sure the food you provide to your customers is grown, transported, handled and stored using the highest of supply-chain standards. Thankfully, bananas do not often cause foodborne illnesses, but keeping the growing and supply chain processes contaminate-free is still very important.

Organics Unlimited works in a close partnership with our growers to oversee every step of the growing process. The USDA and governments of other countries dictate that farms producing edible fruits and vegetables must go through a stringent annual certification process to label the produce as organic. Through this certification process, and by standardizing growing supply-chain procedures, we ensure consistent, organic quality and safety for our customers.

All farming at Organics Unlimited is done under the supervision of an engineer, with supervisors in all areas of production, from growing to washing to packing at the farms. We provide an extensive training program to workers on the best methods for organic growing. Our banana plantations are surrounded by limes, mangos, guanabana and coconuts, all of which are organically certified. The farms have water wells that have been tested for quality, and because bananas don’t touch the ground while growing, there’s little risk of contamination from ground water or runoff. The banana peel itself acts as a natural shield, protecting the fruit from many external contaminants. And when the bananas begin to mature, our growers place bags around the stalks of fruit to keep them safe from insects, birds and rodents. When the bananas are ready to be harvested, they’re washed in clean, cool water prior to packing them into boxes, onto pallets and into trucks.

Organics Unlimited bananas grown in Mexico are shipped in refrigerated trucks kept at 58 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature allows for natural ripening of the banana at a consistent pace throughout their approximate four-day journey to the distribution point. When they reach the distribution point, bananas are stored in temperature-controlled rooms while they finish ripening until they’re ready to be brought to your store, put on display and purchased by consumers. The entire process, from the farm to grocer to table, is truly organic.

Not only are we concerned about the health of our bananas, but we care about the health of our farmers and their families. This is why, in 2005, Organics Unlimited started a program for the communities where our bananas are grown. GROW was founded on the principle of providing a better lifestyle for not only the workers who grow our produce, but also others in the community who are often living in poverty. The GROW program helps provide educational, dental, and vision support programs to those who need it the most, regardless of their employment. GROW provides a hand up, not a hand out, to workers and their families to better improve their health and living conditions. For more information on GROW and the impact it has on its local communities, visit growbananas.org.

To learn more about our organic bananas and how you can supply them in your store, please visit OrganicsUnlimited.com. To learn more about the GROW program, please visit Growbananas.org.

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