Heinz Global Agriculture Program
Launched in 2000, the Heinz Global Agriculture Program is based on the principles of creating a long-term farm management philosophy that is equally focused on productivity, environmental stewardship and prosperity.
This program is for all growers of fruits and vegetables, pulses, grains and oilseeds intended to be supplied either fresh or processed to Heinz, whether directly or via intermediate processors and handlers. Heinz growers introduce Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) into their operations, retain records of activities and measurements, demonstrate improvement and introduce mitigation measures when deemed necessary.
Heinz has worked with suppliers to facilitate agricultural practices that:
- Satisfy consumer needs for safe food, traceable to origin;
- Satisfy consumer demand for reliable supply of affordable, nutritious foods;
- Promote and protect the health, welfare and economic prosperity of farmers, workers and their communities;
- Minimize adverse effects on the Earth’s natural resources and biodiversity; and
- Strictly comply with all applicable laws and regulations.
Our goal at Heinz has been to establish a stable, long-term program with processors that are committed to meeting our high standards and purchasing products from growers that follow our global agricultural practices.
One-On-One Training Program
One of the hallmarks of our global agriculture program has been our training program, which equips growers with modern farming technologies and knowledge of good agricultural practices.
Our education efforts have included personal visits to growers’ fields, where we review techniques, assess constraints and determine what is working well and where improvements can be made. We have provided seminars, growing manuals and field training to educate farmers about practices such as:
- Water conservation and management
- Soil analysis and restoration
- Chemical application
- Pest management
- Crop rotations
- Food and worker safety
- Crop traceability
As part of our Global Agricultural Program, Heinz has taken comprehensive steps to help ensure that our food products and key crops are safe for consumers. For example, Heinz is able to track where the tomato seed originates, what was used to help the plant grow, where the seed was planted and how, when and where the tomato was processed into a finished product and then delivered to its final retail distribution.
Heinz has monitored the safety of our tomatoes through audits of the agricultural practices implemented by farmers that have been contracted to grow Heinz tomatoes, both domestically and internationally. Activities include:
- Collecting written field histories;
- Recording GPS positions of fields;
- Geotagging photos of fields, farmers, chemical packaging and application techniques;
- Checking chemical and fertilizer application records for compliance with approved lists;
- Sampling soil and water and testing for appropriate chemical and nutrient levels;
- Documenting that any rectification measures are executed; and
- Submitting reports verifying compliance of established agricultural practices.
The farmers and processors that are Heinz suppliers have been expected to follow standard safety practices, including:
- Following strict industry protocol on the use of approved pesticides for preventative spraying. In fact, our growers are limited to a select list of pesticides more restrictive than those approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency;
- Protecting crops from unsafe water supplies;
- Maintaining records of varieties and seed lots, as well as keeping greenhouse and field records; and
- Transporting tomatoes from field to factory in clean, non-contaminated containers.
Heinz Good Agriculture Practices (GAP) Manual
Our global agriculture experts expanded our initial GAP Manual from 2008 and established a comprehensive policy to standardize and communicate our expectations for agriculture practices worldwide. This Manual shares agricultural practices to minimize the adverse effects of farming on the Earth’s natural resources and biodiversity. The Manual outlines techniques to reduce the use of chemicals in farming, protect the soil, implement effective irrigation, conserve water and energy, reduce waste and pollution, and assure worker safety. It also provides specific tools for pesticide testing and field monitoring to drive alignment of reporting and tracking of data. The GAP Manual Policy is framed within the four principles, shown in the chart below:
Heinz has developed a customized database to capture our global knowledge and experience in the area of food safety in a single, easily accessible site. This platform is helping Heinz to make better decisions when buying raw materials.
Heinz created new field assessment forms and questionnaires to measure compliance with our global Good Agriculture Practices.
We established new business goals to drive compliance to standards and for reporting our progress on improving practices and outcomes.