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USDA Establishes Fresh Produce Quality Monitoring Program

WASHINGTON -- In response to the processed and fresh fruit and vegetable industry's need to supplement internal quality control programs, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has established a new Quality Monitoring Program (QMP) that permits companies to submit specific processed produce samples for review to graders from USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).

Chicago-based U.S. Foodservice is the first company to sign an agreement with AMS to provide QMP services at several of its distribution centers. The company is the second largest broad-line distributor in the United States, serving more than 250,000 national customers, including restaurants, hospitals, hotels, schools, and government.

"This program is another example of government and industry working closely together to build services that will make a difference," said AMS deputy administrator Robert Keeney. "This agreement underscores the commitment of U.S. Foodservice to the highest standards of quality, and will reconfirm that a consistent quality is maintained."

After an AMS inspection, products that don't conform to assigned specifications are immediately reported back to the company. The produce industry relies on AMS' inspectors to provide impartial review and certification of shipments in various stages of the marketing chain.
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