Few things are more important in life than the quality of life itself.
“You are what you eat!” If you believe that’s true, then you believe that naturally healthy foods can help make or keep you a naturally healthy person. Consuming a diet that is high in fiber, low in fat, and low in sodium is a key component in maintaining optimum health, increasing your life span, and decreasing your odds of developing disease. Loosely translated that means, at least in part, consuming more fresh fruits and vegetables daily. Seafood is also a great addition to healthy eating, as it is low in fat, high in protein and rich in omega-3 fatty acids which have been proven to reduce inflammation, triglycerides, and high blood pressure, which are all known risk factors for heart disease. Seafood can be a healthy alternative to meat and poultry, and many of us would do well to eat more of it (as long as you are not allergic). Capital Seaboard Seafood & Produce takes our part in promoting healthy life goals to heart in our business of providing the freshest, highest quality products to our customers.
Mother Nature is always an unpredictable and often an unkind variable in the availability and quality of the produce we can offer. We maintain a relationship with multiple suppliers of all of our produce items so we have the ability to adjust when availability of products fluctuate due to seasonality or are adversely affected by unexpected weather conditions. To assure that our vendors share our quality commitment we source our produce from farms, packing houses, and distributors that are audited by independent third party certification bodies. These audits verify that our suppliers implement and their workforce consistently adheres to established Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) in the field or Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) in the production, processing, or storage facility.
Our seafood vendors are all regulated by the FDA and function under HACCP certified food safety programs. All of our imported seafood products must pass vigorous FDA inspections before they are permitted entry into the United States.
When produce shipments arrive on our dock, our trained receiving staff inspects every shipment to ensure the commodities we receive meet or exceed USDA #1 product specifications. Sensory evaluations of each product are performed to determine if they exhibit bruising, decay, skin breakdown, and scarring beyond acceptable tolerances dictated by the USDA. To be considered acceptable certain products must also meet quality standards regarding characteristics such as shape, size, and coloring.
Fresh seafood shipments are also inspected for specific quality attributes such as smell, flesh firmness, evidence of parasites, disease, foreign objects, harvest dates, proper tagging for controlled season catches, presence of ice, etc. Frozen seafood shipments are inspected for damage and expiration dates.
All inspection processes includes an inspection of the transport vehicle for signs of damage, unusual odors, and any evidence of pest activity. Consistent temperature controls during transport also play a crucial part in product quality and expected shelf life, so all truck temperatures and product pulp/flesh temperatures are checked as they are unloaded. Quality Control personnel continually check our stock inventory for any degradation of products while they are in storage at our facility to insure that our customers receive only the freshest, highest quality ingredients possible.
Another integral part of maintaining product quality is the practice of food safety procedures during the storage, handling, processing, and shipping of those products.
The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) signed into law by President Obama on January 4, 2011 forges the necessity of quality assurance and food safety measures to go hand in hand throughout the supply chain. The FSMA’s primary goal is to promote the importance of reducing foodborne illness and product recalls by placing more emphasis on the preventive measures practiced by industry as a whole. Furthering the old adage of “An ounce of prevention, is worth a pound of cure”.
In order to facilitate a unified “Farm to Fork” or “Sea to Stomach” (as may apply for seafood), food safety implementation, every establishment that has a hand in getting product from Mother Earth or Poseidon’s domain to your mouth must be committed to making sure that “hand” is a clean one.
Food safety is much like a fork or a trident in the sense that it has many prongs. To create an effective food safety system, many factors must be considered and addressed by separate parts of the overall program.
Biological, chemical, and physical hazards are identified and managed through a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) program. In short, this means taking the time to determine which hazards exist with your product or within your facility, whether naturally present or externally introduced, and deciding what you are going to do to prevent, reduce, or eliminate that hazard using a scientifically validated process.
Preventive programs such as personal hygiene, pest control, sanitation, foreign material detection, and food security are just a few of the necessary processes that need to be in place and continuously in practice to protect the food supply from both intentional and accidental contamination. Everyone involved in the process must be educated regarding the known hazards associated with the products they are handling and then show commitment through their everyday activities to do everything in their power to prevent those hazards from compromising product safety and quality.
Having a Food Safety Culture engrained in every employee is of paramount importance and we are proud of the dedication to our food safety program exhibited by our entire staff.
Capital Seaboard Seafood & Produce consistently strives to keep abreast of the ever changing regulatory landscape and technological advances available in the spectrum of food safety, to provide assurance that we not only supply the highest quality, but also the safest products to you, our valued customer.