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Wilmington, Delaware, April 28, 2011

Mastronardi Produce Honored at Food Quality Award Reception Hosted by DuPont Qualicon

Mastronardi Produce, winner of the 10th annual Food Quality Award, was honored by more than 250 food industry professionals at a presentation and reception hosted by DuPont Qualicon during the Food Safety & Security Summit in Washington, D.C.

Sponsored by DuPont Qualicon and presented by Food Quality magazine, the Food Quality Award is given each year to a North American QA/QC department or program that has made significant improvements in food safety and quality with a positive impact on business results. 

An impartial panel of judges selected Mastronardi Produce for this prestigious award based on quantifiable results that it has achieved while producing high quality, safe food within a sustainable environment. Specific innovation investments include traceability technology, carbon-negative greenhouse technology, and a TerraSphere project for vertical rearing of crop-bearing plants.

This year's winner joins an elite group of past honorees, including Michigan Turkey Producers, Fieldale Farms, West Liberty Foods LLC, Hormel Foods, Beef Products Inc. (BPI), Tyson Food Safety & Lab Services, SYSCO Corporation, Franklin Foods, Hygaard Fine Foods Ltd. and East Balt Commissary, Inc. of Chicago.

"Recognizing companies like Mastronardi Produce for taking a proactive approach to protecting our food supply is something we look forward to each year," said Marcos Cantharino, global business director, DuPont Qualicon.  "As recipients of the Food Quality Award, these companies exemplify commitment in action."

Joseph R. Darden, vice president of food safety and Joshua R. McCallum, director of food safety, accepted the Food Quality Award on behalf of Mastronardi Produce.  Headquartered in Kingsville, Ontario, the company is a fourth generation family owned, employee managed business that is the largest greenhouse produce distribution company in North America.

According to Darden, “We have a moral and ethical obligation to do the right thing and always strive for the highest standards of food safety and food quality.  And, when it comes to sustainable practices, from the growing stages to the packaged product on the shelf, our company reuses, reduces and recycles at every opportunity.” 

A keynote address was delivered by C. Harold King, Ph.D., senior manager of food and product safety, Chick-fil-A.  King discussed the safety culture at Chick-fil-A, which is one of the largest privately held restaurant chains in the United States, with more than 1,550 restaurants in 39 states and Washington, D.C.

“We don’t just serve food, we serve people,” said King.  “So we make sure to select people and suppliers who ‘own’ the responsibility to make and serve safe food, and we verify this often.”

Megan DeStefano, global marketing manager, DuPont Qualicon, served as master of ceremonies, introducing the event with a brief video announcing “Horizons,” a new BBC World News series created in association with DuPont. Scheduled to begin airing in May, the series will examine the future of business, identifying companies around the world that are influencing the way people will live and work in the future. 

Ken Potuzni, associate publisher of Food Quality magazine, and Marcos Cantharino co-presented the award. 

DuPont Qualicon provides innovative, science-based diagnostic products for the food industry. Food processing companies around the world rely on the BAX® system to detect pathogens or other organisms in raw ingredients, finished products and environmental samples.  The automated system uses leading-edge technology, including polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays, tableted reagents and optimized media to detect Salmonella, Listeria species, Listeria monocytogenes, E. coli O157:H7, Enterobacter sakazakii, Campylobacter, Staphylococcus aureus, Vibrio, and yeast and mold.  With certifications and regulatory approvals in the Americas, Asia and Europe, the BAX® system is recognized globally as one of the most advanced pathogen testing system available to food companies.  For more information and photos, please visit www.qualicon.com

DuPont (www.dupont.com) is a science-based products and services company.  Founded in 1802, DuPont puts science to work by creating sustainable solutions essential to a better, safer, healthier life for people everywhere.  Operating in more than 90 countries, DuPont offers a wide range of innovative products and services for markets including agriculture and food; building and construction; communications; and transportation.