Commonwealth Quality, a brand designed by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, serves to identify locally sourced products that are grown, harvested, and processed in Massachusetts using practices that are safe, sustainable, and environmentally friendly.
Commonwealth Quality-certified growers, producers, harvesters, and processors not only meet stringent federal, state, and local regulatory requirements, but also employ best management practices and production standards that ensure consumers receive the most safe and wholesome products available.
To become a CQP certified farm, contact the Commonwealth Quality Program to schedule a voluntary food safety audit. Upon completion of a successful audit, the farm will receive a certificate verifying compliance with best management practices and good agricultural practices based on the standards of the Commonwealth Quality Program. This certificate can be presented to wholesale buyers and customers as proof of meeting third-party audit requirements for ensuring safe and sustainable products.
Commonwealth Quality for fresh produce requires that farmers employ food safety standards that minimize the risk of microbial contamination and food-borne illnesses for fruits and vegetables grown, harvested, and packed in Massachusetts. This is accomplished through adherence to food safety requirements laid out in the Food Safety Modernization Act’s Produce Safety Rule and regional good agricultural practices. Farms that wish to join CQP must comply with strict requirements regarding employee training and hygiene practices and responsibly manage their facilities, agricultural water, soil amendments, and wildlife to ensure only the safest products are available to consumers.
Commonwealth Quality for cranberries serves to certify locally sourced fruit that is grown, harvested, and packed in Massachusetts. To qualify for CQP certification, Massachusetts cranberry growers must adopt and maintain program requirements that include practices specific to the safe production, harvest, storage, and marketing of fresh fruit from bogs and screen houses in Massachusetts. Program requirements for cranberries include farm food safety practices and standards as well as practices designed to reduce the environmental impact of cranberry production.
Commonwealth Quality certified sugarmakers follow the strictest food safety standards and take steps to ensure that their work in the sugarbush ensures the long term sustainability of the forests they steward and trees they tap here in Massachusetts. Participation in CQP ensures that sugarmakers are using high-quality equipment that is designed to process, handle, and store their products safely. Maple producers follow best management practices to ensure that only pure maple syrup goes into their jugs, and they routinely test their water, equipment, and products for any contaminants. Sugarmakers follow the most stringent standards in every step of production in order to minimize the risk of food borne illness and to provide the highest quality products.