PFH Takes an Organic Approach to West Coast Market Expansion

Precision planning, attention to detail and flawless execution is what it takes to succeed in the perishables business. But sometimes it’s just a matter of being in the right place at the right time.

Such is the case with Prime Fresh Handling’s months-long certification process to work with organic foods in California. Turns out, just as consumer demand is on the rise, PFH at LAX gets the green light to move into this market – with a fresh new seal of approval by the state.

“Our brand was built on expert handling, on-time delivery, and effective quality control of perishables. That’s what Prime Fresh Handling customers demand – and that’s what they get,” says Margarita Duron, PFH Sales Executive.

“But shipping and handling food designated as ‘organic’ requires a heightened degree of care and attention – and regulatory oversight – due to the potential safety issues involved,” she said.

To be allowed to work within this highly regulated segment of California’s fresh food industry, all parties involved, including shippers and handlers like PFH, must be fully compliant with state and federal rules and procedures,” Duron added.

Always looking to expand into untapped segments of the perishables market, PFH recently applied for and received the industry’s foremost certification to handle organics in California – where organic food reigns. With an astounding $2.2 billion in sales (41 percent of the national total), California makes up the biggest slice of the country’s organic food business.

Sign of Approval

After a rigorous inspection of PFH operations and records, the California Department of Food & Agriculture State Organic Program declared in August that PFH meets all the necessary requirements to be a certified handler of organic food.

Signifying this status, PFH may now proudly display the California Certified Organic Farmers certificate (CCOF).

And it’s right on time, because industry reports show that for the first half of 2020, organic fresh produce sales were up 11 percent, despite the general worldwide impact of COVID-19. Similar positive growth is expected into the fall – with organic fruit like grapes, melons, stone fruit, and blueberries leading the way.

“Perhaps the boost in business is because more consumers are cooking at home and trying to eat healthier as they self-isolate, or it’s a facet of the growing number of organic farms that are being certified. Either way it’s a significant target market for PFH to pursue,” said Duron.

Certifications Held by PFH

Prime Fresh Handling has received some of the industry’s most noteworthy certifications, ensuring safe handling of a wide range of perishables, potentially hazardous foods, and time/temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals:

  • California Certified Organic Farmers Certification: The PFH facility in LAX is approved to handle organic produce by the California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF). Accredited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, CCOF certification signifies that PFH complies with federal regulations on the handling of agricultural commodities labeled and sold as “organic.”
  • PrimusGFS Certification: Signifying that PFH meets the highest standards in food safety, the Primus Global Food Safety Certification applies specifically to qualified companies that operate within the fresh food supply chain, from pre- and to post-farm gate production. With this prestigious certification, PFH is one of the world’s top-rated in the perishables industry.
  • Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points Certification: HACCP approval certifies PFH to handle fresh seafood. HACCP is a systematic preventive approach to food safety from biological, chemical, and physical hazards in production processes that can cause the finished product to be unsafe for consumption.
  • IATA Temperature Controlled Cargo Operations Certification: IATA’s annual certification in Temperature Controlled Cargo Operations ensures Miami Operations staff complies with complex shipping regulations and standards as they relate to the proper transport of pharmaceuticals.

“These certifications demonstrate PFH strives for and achieves the highest standards in safety and product efficacy. Widespread acknowledgment of these accomplishments also serves to open even more doors for us in the worldwide market,” said Duron.

“It’s all about being a world-class provider of high-caliber services in support of the fresh food industry. We want to corner that market, too!”

About PFH

PFH warehouses and refrigerated handling facilities offer wide-ranging services include crating and package, cold storage and inventory services, as well as document processing, and customs clearance.

In addition to LAX, PFH operates facilities in New York and Miami, as well as Bogota, Quito, and Amsterdam – all key gateways for perishable time-temperature sensitive commodities including fruit, vegetables, fresh fish, pharmaceuticals, and cut flowers.

For information, visit or call 305-592-2044.