Oritain contracted to certify US-grown apples

Laboratory manager Graham Henderson dissects apples at Oritain Global's headquarters at Invermay. Photo by James Stringer.
Laboratory manager Graham Henderson dissects apples at Oritain Global's headquarters at Invermay. Photo by James Stringer.
Apples from the United States are on their way to Dunedin in what has been described as a very exciting opportunity for food certification company Oritain Global.

The company, which scientifically certifies the origin of food products, has secured a 12-month agreement with Borton Fruit, a family-owned global producer of apples, pears and cherries with a 100-year history in the horticultural industry.

Under the agreement, Oritain will undertake origin profiling of Borton apples sourced from several production properties.

Borton Fruit was looking forward to working with Oritain, as food safety was a top priority in the company's continued growth, sales and marketing manager Sky Johnson said.

''Ensuring that we have an accurate representation of our fruit in the world marketplace will strengthen the positioning of our fruit in the future,'' she said.

Oritain's general manager George Friedlander said Borton Fruit was well-respected globally and it was a ''hugely exciting'' opportunity. It was hoped the agreement would grow from the initial year-long period.

Oritain approached Borton Fruit as the work that it did was viewed as ''cutting-edge'', Mr Friedlander said.

The company uses an 'origin' based system, identifying the geochemistry of the environment to determine specifications for origin for meat, dairy, orchard fruits, vegetables, honey and seed products.

It works with producers from throughout New Zealand, including some apple growers, and in several locations around the world.

While Oritain was probably the first company to commercialise the science, others were coming into the market now. However, it had the advantage of being the first, he said.

Oritain lead scientist Dr Rebecca McLeod said dealing with off-shore producers was very similar to the process undertaken in New Zealand.

Oritain looked forward to providing a definitive test of whether apples in the market bearing the Borton Fruit brand were produced in Washington, she said.

Oritain also recently signed a contract with Westland Milk Products to certify the West Coast-based company's base infant formula.

The Chinese market was ''so big'' and the potential was so great, it was a very exciting space for the company to be in, Mr Friedlander said.


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