-Companies Recognized for Commitment to Food Safety Program-

ARLINGTON, VA — September 7, 2010 — The Safe Quality Food Institute (SQFI) recognized four companies — Siliker, Inc., NSF International, Stemilt Growers and Coles Supermarkets — for their commitment to the SQF program during an award presentation at the SQF International Conference in Melbourne, Australia. SQFI is a division of the Food Marketing Institute (FMI).

“Producing safe food is a priority for all food manufacturers,” said Jill Hollingsworth, group vice president of food safety programs at FMI. “Achieving SQF certification provides verification that a supplier’s food safety and quality management system complies with international and domestic food safety regulations. This enables suppliers to assure their customers that food has been produced, processed, prepared and handled according to the highest possible standards, at all levels of the supply chain. We are pleased to recognize these companies for their commitment to food safety.”

The honorees were selected based in part on their support of the SQF program, their ability to follow the SQF training protocol and their overall commitment to food safety.

The following companies each received special recognition for their strong support for the SQF food safety certification program:

Certification Body of the Year — Siliker, Inc.

Siliker, Inc. is recognized for their strong support and growth of the SQF certification program globally. They are the largest certification body in North America and are active on both the SQF Technical Advisory Council and Certification Body Committee. They have maintained outstanding performance in the management of their accredited SQF certification system.

“We are extremely grateful to receive this award as it reinforces our position as the number one SQF Certification Body in the U.S. and the second largest SQF Certification Body in the world," said Mike Wallace, Director of Siliker Global Certification Services. "This award would not have been possible without the leadership of our global certification team and our dedicated network of auditors."

A subsidiary of Siliker Group Corp., Siliker Global CS was accredited through the Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand in 2007.

Training Center of the Year — NSF International

NSF International, an independent public health and safety organization, has trained more than 1000 people on how to implement and manage the SQF standard in the past 12 months. They are recognized for their strong support of the SQF training program and for their involvement in reviewing SQF training materials. They consistently receive outstanding reviews from those who attend NSF training courses.

     “NSF International is proud to be recognized by the Safe Quality Food Institute for our contribution to training food safety professionals,” said Robert Prevendar, Director of Food Safety Certification Systems at NSF. “Ensuring an understanding of both the SQF standard and the necessary commitment to managing food safety is critical to suppliers and retailers, and it all begins with proper training. We are honored to be recognized for this award, which complements our food safety certification and auditing expertise.”

Founded in 1944, NSF International writes public health standards, conducts safety audits and certifies food, water, dietary supplements and consumer products to minimize adverse health effects and protect the environment. NSF’s Food Safety Programs offer a total food safety solution to growers, processors, distributors, retailers and food-service operators, as well as food equipment and beverage manufacturers. NSF services include training and education, certification to Global Food Safety Standards, auditing and registration services such as ISO 22000.

Visit us on the web at www.nsf.org.

Supplier of the Year — Stemilt Growers

Stemilt Growers was one of the first suppliers to become SQF certified in North America. As a multi-site certified supplier for more than 12 years, Stemilt is an active member of the SQF Technical Advisory Council and the Technical Sub-Committee on guidance document development. They have been long-time supporters of the SQF program.

“We are thrilled to be among the recipients of this year’s SQFI awards. Food safety is vital to our success as a company,” said Roger Pepperl, Stemilt Marketing Director. “We are proud of the work that our Food Safety team, led by Eva Lauve, has accomplished and look forward to continuing to ensure we deliver safe, high-quality products to markets around the world.”

Stemilt Growers is a leading tree fruit growing, packing and shipping company based in Wenatchee, Washington. Owned and operated by the Mathison family, Stemilt is the leading shipper of sweet cherries and the largest supplier of organic tree fruits in the nation. Stemilt has also demonstrated a commitment to sustainable agriculture and social responsibility since 1989, when founder Tom Mathison launched the company’s Responsible Choice program.

SQF Outstanding Achievement Award — Coles Supermarkets

Coles is one of Australia’s largest retailers and has a long-standing commitment to SQF. They have served as a resource and advocate for the SQF program with their suppliers throughout Australia. They continuously work with auditors and certification bodies to help improve SQF and are committed to requiring certification throughout their supply chain. They are active participants of the SQF Technical Advisory Council and provide technical support for the development of updated SQF standards and guidance documents.

“In 2006 when Coles re-launched our Coles Brand Supplier Approval Program utilizing third-party food safety certification, SQF1000 and SQF2000 were two of the global standards which Coles chose to work with,” said Marion Bray, Supplier and Product Quality Manager for the Coles Quality Team. “The SQF standards have provided our suppliers with the guidance and direction needed to provide safe, quality products for our customers.   Coles is proud of our association with the SQF Institute, and our program would not have achieved its current level of success without their support.”

Coles has more than 2,200 retail outlets providing fresh food, groceries, general merchandise, liquor and fuel to its customers. They have a proud Australian heritage dating back to 1914 when George J. Coles opened the first Coles variety store in Collingwood, Victoria. Some of Australia’s most well known brands are part of Coles.