Jiffy Continues Food Safety Focus as CEA Alliance Releases Guidelines

Outbreaks of foodborne illnesses such as Salmonella, Listeria, and E. Coli can spell significant harm for consumers. But tackling food safety in the Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) space in no way falls solely on growers’ shoulders. It is important that all participants in the produce supply chain work together to ensure consumer safety.

Jiffy Group is a proud member of the industry trade association CEA Alliance, which recently released the report, “Commodity Specific Food Safety Guidelines for Controlled Environment Agriculture Produce Production of Leafy Greens and Herbs.”

Jiffy’s Commitment to Food Safety

With decades of experience in the CEA industry, Jiffy continues to provide growing solutions, advice, and technical assistance to all types of growers around the world.

Jiffy has a very strong program to support CEA producers to achieve sustainability and food safety claims. Our solutions are low-debris products made in ISO 22000 Food Safety certified factories. We offer a range of RHP-certified substrates, OMRI-listed organic solutions, and 0% plastic and peat-free options.

Although we do not directly grow food at Jiffy, we take our role as a supplier of growing solutions to CEA producers very seriously. We pledge to continue monitoring our products closely to provide our customers with the safest options. We take multiple steps to maximize the quality of our products, such as:

  • Continually working to minimize contamination risk in our supply chain, from harvesting raw materials to delivering finished products to our customers
  • Complying with our strict global end-to-end traceability system
  • Administering food safety through our Global Food Safety Team, which is involved in risk assessment, document reporting, safety training, and more; each production location also has its own Local Food Safety Teams consisting of multidisciplinary experts.

Jiffy’s Raw Materials Contain Beneficial Microbes

CEA Alliance’s new report states that in their efforts to ensure food safety, CEA producers should be mindful of their use of inputs, such as growth substrates.

Jiffy’s raw materials are natural products like peat and coco fiber that contain beneficial microbes to help crops thrive. As we remain focused on making sure these raw materials are clean and unadulterated, we do not sterilize these raw materials because the process would kill the bacterial microbes.

The healthy and active life in our solutions give them great strength. These microbes can help prevent outbreaks of human pathogens, even if pathogens are already present. In fact, most of our raw materials are inhospitable to human pathogens.

Striving for Food Safety in the Peat Supply Chain

Peat is among the raw materials that benefit from microbes. Indeed, CEA Alliance’s report notes the biological activity of peat and that its beneficial microbes may compete with pathogens.

Jiffy solutions that contain peat include selections in our lines of Pellets, Jiffy Pots, and growing media mixes.

In its report, CEA Alliance states that pelletized peat can be  heat-treated. At Jiffy, we heat our peat-based Pellets at approximately 100 degrees Celsius (212 degrees Fahrenheit), the Jiffy coir-based Pellet is heated at proximately 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit) and our Jiffy Pots reach almost 300 degrees Celsius (572 degrees Fahrenheit).

CEA Alliance’s report also shares that when peat is mixed with coconut coir, the medium’s moisture retention capabilities change. If peat is mixed with coir or other fibrous components, the report states, “the producer should consider asking for a COA demonstrating the absence of pathogens, and if applicable, RHP certified or equivalent.”

Jiffy Pellets are made from either 100% peat or a mixture of peat and Jiffy’s own-manufactured RHP-certified coir, or 100% coir. Jiffy-Mix also incorporates RHP-certified coir.

Production of Coir for Food Safety

In addition to RHP certification, we take other steps at Jiffy to assure the safety of coconut coir, which we use for various Pellet, Growblock, Growbag, and substrate mix selections.

CEA Alliance’s report states that growers should speak with suppliers about temperatures and timelines for treating coir. The association also outlines the importance of proper handling in packaging and distribution.

Jiffy is focused on quality control of our coir production. We process and sun-dry coconut husks on large, asphalted areas. Temperatures rise above 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit) for extended periods, usually at least six hours, until moisture is reduced to below 20%. Afterward, we store the coir inside to reduce contamination risk.

Let’s Work Together

At Jiffy, we continue to work with partners in the food chain, universities, and knowledge centers to ensure the safety of our raw materials.

To share our and other industry stakeholders’ food safety efforts, we hosted a webinar earlier this year with Melanie Lewis Ivey, Ph.D., and Sanja Ilic, Ph.D., from The Ohio State University.

We look forward to continue working with the CEA industry toward common goals based on facts. More work is required to develop and improve methods to assure food safety. Teamwork and involvement throughout the entire supply chain will get us there. Let’s work together to protect consumers.

Fast germination

Jiffy Pellets are an open-wall, net container and medium all in one. It is easy to work with, economical to ship. They are available as bulk pellets for loading yourself, but also pre-loaded into global tray standards or on a poly-roll. Available in Peat, Coco and mix substrates.

Fitting your demands

Jiffy's range of substrates include peat-reduced, peat-free and organic certified solutions. We have a long history in delivering the highest-quality substrate mixes with the most uniform characteristics, tailored and tested to meet each crop's specifications.

Peat-free solution

The Jiffy Growbag has unbeatable rooting characteristics. Made of 100% RHP Foundation Certified coco substrates our bags fit every crop. Together with our coco growblocks they deliver a sustainable all-in-one high yield solution.

The compostable classic

Jiffy Pots Original are 100% “home-compostable and approved for organic production. No chemicals are used during the manufacture of Jiffy Pots, which makes them the number-one choice for food crops.