In April 2012, the Grain Train Natural Foods Market became the area’s only USDA certified retail grocery store. Becoming certified assures customers that the high quality organic products available at the Grain Train are guaranteed from farm to table.
According to Robert Struthers, Grain Train General Manager, the process of achieving certification is an involved one. “We had to create many systems and protocols for receiving, handling, processing, labeling and selling organic products – all designed to prevent the organic products we sell from being contaminated by other non-organic products or ingredients. We were then inspected by a third party USDA certified inspection agent who toured our facility, talked with staff members, and checked our systems and handling protocols for compliance with the law. This assures that when a customer buys an organic product from us, they are getting what they think they are getting. It is our job to ensure that.”
Being a certified retailer does not mean that the Grain Train sells only organic products however. What it does mean is that they follow strict practices that keep organic and non-organic products separate in storage, prep and display and that organic products are protected from contact with restricted and prohibited substances such as pest control and cleaners. All organic products are labeled clearly and in accordance with the law and all staff are trained in proper organic handling and labeling procedures.
To further their dedication to offering customers only the best products, the Grain Train recently established store product guidelines as well as wellness standards for their health and beauty aids department that help determine what products will be offered for sale. These guidelines clearly spell out the commitment of the Grain Train to make it easier for customers to navigate the ever growing number of products available today. Each product stocked comes with the assurance that it has been carefully evaluated and has passed the exacting standards set forth in their guidelines.