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Olive OilThe popularity of imported foods has been steadily rising as more Americans develop a taste for the unique flavors and cuisine of other cultures and regions. Today some of the most popular food imports include fish, shellfish, nuts, fruits, vegetables and red meats. Yet the need for a differentiated product mix is only one of the engines driving an increased interest in imported foods. The seasonal availability of produce means that as certain items go out of season in one region, they enter peak season in another. This allows for a constant, consistent supply at all times of year. Global sourcing also means that inconsistent crop conditions, seasonal variations and catastrophic events have less of an impact on price and availability.

Although there are many benefits to sourcing products from around the world, imported foods can also pose an elevated risk for spoilage, contamination and quality fluctuations due to the supply chain challenges involved with moving perishable products thousands of miles.

To help combat these issues, Sysco Quality Assurance employs numerous checks and balances to ensure that Sysco Brand imports meet the highest standards in regard to quality, food safety and value. All Sysco Brand products (imported or domestic) must come from facilities that have successfully completed a rigorous approval and audit process. Once approved, routine audits are conducted on a regular basis, both announced and unannounced, to verify continued compliance with all Sysco Quality Assurance requirements.
 
Throughout the entire Sysco Brand supplier relationship, Sysco QA conducts thorough on-site product evaluations at locations around the world and routinely samples inbound shipments at established forwarding warehouses to make certain that imported food products meet or exceed Sysco standards.

Even with all of these processes and procedures in place, certain imported products require a specialized approach to verify authenticity and quality. For example, Sysco Brand olive oil must pass though a panel of tasting experts who evaluate representative samples for the proper taste, color, texture and bouquet.
Imported olive oil must also undergo chemical analysis by a third party lab to ascertain compliance with strict regulations and product classifications such as extra virgin, pure or pomace.

In conjunction with routine quality evaluations, the condition and accuracy of Sysco Brand packaging and labeling are audited and reviewed on a regular basis. These audits ensure the primary containers and master cases used to ship and store Sysco Brand products comply with U.S. government standards and Sysco brand packaging specifications — so that our products can continue to meet the quality, consistency, food safety and value expectations of our customers. 

When it comes to importing the best products, QA makes a world of difference.