Dole Fresh Fruit Company, a subsidiary of Dole Food Company Inc., plans to begin offering certified organic bananas to consumers this month.
For several years, the company has been conducting research into the production of organic bananas, which are grown without the use of commercial chemicals and fertilizers. Emphasizing improvements in soil fertility, as well as biological and cultural approaches to pests and plant diseases, Dole is now able to add organic bananas to its list of fresh fruit products.
The organic bananas will be grown in Ecuador and Honduras on farms that have been certified as organic by U.S.-based certification agencies and inspected by the Independent Organic Inspectors Association to ensure organic integrity.
Dole's Latin American subsidiary, Standard Fruit de Costa Rica, was the first major banana producing area in the world to be certified to the International Organization for Standardization's environmental management system standard, ISO 14001. All of Dole's farms that grow bananas in Latin America and Asia are now certified to ISO 14001.
The bananas will first be available to Dole's West Coast customers. Over the following months, the program will be expanded to offer the new organic bananas to all of North America.
"Dole has a culture of maximizing environmental performance while providing the highest quality food in the marketplace today," said Sharon Hayes, director of environmental affairs for Dole Food Co. "Dole's production of certified organic bananas is another sign of Dole's commitment to environmental leadership and consumer choice."
Dole Food Co. Inc., with 1999 revenues of $5.1 billion, is the world's largest producer and marketer of fresh fruit, vegetables and fresh cut flowers, and markets a growing line of packaged foods.
"Environmental stewardship is an integral part of Dole's concept of "quality," embodied in our label. We believe a quality product is produced in a quality way. Some companies treat the environment as a public relations issue. At Dole, it's an operations issue. We strive to integrate consideration for the environment into everything we do. We invest in environmental protection - in making real improvements in our people, our facilities and our operations - not in boasting about what we do". - Dole Food Co. Inc.
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