Most people don’t really look beyond the physical appearance and smell when buying meat, eggs, or fresh produce. At Honest Farms (by Healthy Options), we trust our local partner-farmers but we also verify. This means, before we put any farm products on our shelves, we test everything. And it all starts in the farms.
All farms who supply and partner with Honest Farms go through a rigorous vetting process before they are accepted, not only in terms of product quality, safety, and hygiene but also in values and beliefs. In our experience, farmers are more willing to listen and learn when our values and beliefs are aligned. Farmers who take short-cuts or don’t care about animal welfare don’t become our partners.
Let me share some examples of our Quality Standards and the number of tests we do before a farm product is placed on Healthy Options shelves. First the eggs, we have twelve (12) inspection parameters before they are accepted for sale:
1. Temperature at receiving- 18 to 24°C
2. Freshness - harvested daily
3. Egg yolk and white - firmness; not watery
4. Odor - no fishy or off-odor
5. Egg shell - color, thickness, and cleanliness
6. Yolk’s color - 7 to 12 DSM egg color fan
7. Candling - cracks, blood or meat spots
8. Salmonella test and E. coli test
9. Veterinary drug residue test - antibiotics
10. Weighing and grading
11. Packaging & labels inspection
12. Storage temperature - 1 to 4°C
For livestock, we first test the animal feed to determine the nutritional value, protein content, and more importantly, we test for growth hormones, antibiotics, and heavy metals. For chicken and pork meat, we test for veterinary drug residues, salmonella for chicken and African Swine Flu virus for pork.
Honest Farms has invested millions of pesos in a mini-QA lab to do some tests in-house. We also tap the services of external labs like NMIS Central Lab, SGS Philippines and SGS Taiwan who have more sophisticated equipment. The cheapest of these tests is a multi-residue veterinary drug test by NMIS Central Lab at P19,500/test. The most expensive is the microbiological test to establish shelf-life for our chilled pork at P52,000 a pop.
We do all of the above because we love good food and really care about how our livestock are grown and raised. We want to share our knowledge and enthusiasm, and help people to eat better, create animal welfare awareness and at the same time, help raise the standard of living of our local farmers. This is the story of Honest Farms.
Next time you’re buying organic eggs, meat, or fresh produce other than at Healthy Options, ask how they know they’re really organic and antibiotics-free. Trust and verify.
Best of health,