New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo launched a new local food label last week. The “New York State Grown & Certified” label will appear on New York State produce that has been inspected by health and agriculture officials for both food safety and enviro-sustainability.
“New York State Grown & Certified is the first state program in the nation to combine modern food safety standards with environmental stewardship to achieve a premium level of certification,” according to the New York Governor’s website. “By certifying food at this level, New York is providing consumers with an assurance of quality in how and where the food is grown and produced, while promoting New York State producers who are meeting a growing market demand for foods that are safely handled and grown in an environmentally responsible manner.”
The development of the local food label is largely centered around food safety, the Governor said. He asserted that the label would prove that New York produce was “the safest food on the globe to eat” according to Grub Street. The Governor said that the label would also help New Yorkers avoid food whose origins are unclear and allow them to opt for local food whenever possible.
“New York State Grown & Certified is a commitment to assure New Yorkers that New York State maintains a high degree of vigilance over the food supply,” commented New York State Agriculture Commissioner Ball.
Cuomo announced that the state would invest $15 million toward the construction of a 120,000-square-foot Greenmarket Regional Food Hub in the Bronx in association with this new label, creating 95 permanent jobs. The creation of this hub and the label should stimulate the upstate New York economy, according to Cuomo, giving an advantage to local farmers.
“By connecting Upstate farmers to new markets with a state-of-the-art food hub and promoting the consumption of healthy and environmentally conscious food, these initiatives will have extraordinary environmental, nutritional and economic benefits for all New Yorkers,” he said.
More than 100 qualifying farms have already expressed interest in the label, and the Department of Agriculture and Markets will work with other New York State producers to help them to qualify.
Participation in existing certification programs, such as the State’s Agricultural Environmental Management program, is required for participation in this new label.
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