May 27, 2009, Leamington, Ont. — Sunsation Acres of Leamington was among 55 recipients of Ontario’s 2008 Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation.
Company owner Jim Slater was an early adopter of a rigorous food safety regimen that the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers (OGVG) has made mandatory for its members. The process includes documenting daily practices, strict employee hygiene and stringent water quality and pest control programs.
Slater is also vice-chair of the OGVG.
“I am proud to recognize the farmers whose innovation has helped them thrive in this competitive sector, and I applaud your dedication, creativity and hard work,” said Premier Dalton McGuinty. “My hearty congratulations go out to this year’s award recipients on your tremendous success in generating new products, creating jobs and building opportunity.”
Representing the government at the regional awards ceremony was Maria Van Bommel, MPP for Lambton-Kent-Middlesex. “These innovations help to strengthen our local agri-food sector, which is such an important contributor to Ontario’s economy.”
|Participating in the awards presentation was OGVG vice-chair and owner of Sunsation Acres
Jim Slater, along with Stephanie Lariviere of Sunsation Acres (at left),
and MPP Maria Van Bommel.
Every producer, packer and marketer of Ontario greenhouse tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers must have their food safety program verified annually by a third party audit firm. Buyers are then able to verify that these products are grown under the safest conditions possible.
“We are proud to have such an innovative food safety, and traceability program in development,” said OGVG general manager George Gilvesy. “Ensuring proper food safety procedures is one of our top priorities.”
Starting this September, OGVG will also have a regulatory traceability requirement.