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HLB Specialties’ grower Caliman now Fairtrade certified

HLB Specialties, a leading North American papaya importer based in Pompano Beach, FL, announced that its main supplier of Golden papayas, Caliman Agrícola, has been awarded a Fairtrade certificate by FLOCERT.

Caliman is one the world’s largest papaya growers and with more than 35 years of experience, it has set many standards for the papaya industry, including being the oldest Brazilian papaya grower with the Fairtrade certificate.

According to Fairtrade America, there are only a handful of countries that have growers with the certificate. Brazil is the second-largest papaya producing and exporting country, and HLB Specialties is the main distributor of Brazilian papayas worldwide, through offices in the United States and Germany.

“Being in compliance with Fairtrade standards and FLOCERT certification requirements is an important step toward ensuring our customers that we are serious about providing them with healthy products that were produced fair and ethically,” Melissa Hartmann de Barros, director of communications for HLB, said in a press release.

Aside from having a Fairtrade certificate, Caliman Agrícola also participates in several other social programs that support its more than 700 employees, such as a “basic basket,” which is a monthly bonus package given to every employee that contains basic food items such as rice, beans, flour, oil, as well as toiletries and cleaning products. All employees are also offered health insurance for themselves and dependents as well as complimentary yearly check-ups and access to an on-site infirmary.

HLB Specialties is the biggest importer of Brazilian papayas into the United States and Canada and accounts for 60 percent of the Golden papaya market share. It is also the second-largest importer of Formosa papayas, which is the large Tainung papaya variety that is steadily displacing the Central American Maradol from retail stores.

Formosa papayas are similar to Maradol in appearance, but have a longer shelf-life and window for consumption, since they don’t need to ripen to 100 percent color to be eaten. Formosa papayas have a pleasant aroma and are sweet, without a bitter aftertaste.

HLB Specialties handles a variety of tropical items, such as papayas, mangoes, avocados, limes, rambutan and goldenberries. In addition to it headquarters in Pompano Beach, FL, it distributes through facilities in Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, McAllen, TX, and seasonally out of New Jersey. Sister company HLB Tropical Food in Germany distributes to several European countries.