Interview: Yunuen Miranda Gutierrez of NSF

Yunuen Miranda Gutiérrez Manager of Agricultural Programs at NSF International of México.

Yunuen Miranda, a simple but very talented woman, originally from San Juan del Rio, Querétaro; Engineer Agronomist by profession, graduated from Tecnológico de Monterrey Campus Querétaro.

All his work experience has been in direct contact with agriculture topics, analyzing investment projects, offering technical advice to producers of protected crops, auditing systems of food safety and quality, and from 2010 as Manager of Agricultural Programs in NSF International of Mexico.

  1. What is NSF International?

NSF International ( is an independent global organization that provides certification, auditing, consulting, training, farming services and laboratory analysis to agricultural businesses, growers, and farmers around the world.

  1. which is the origin of commercial certifications?

Commercial certifications originated in the 1990s with the establishment of food safety requirements by leading food retailers around the world, which were evaluated through second-party audits of their suppliers. These requirements arise in response to outbreaks of diseases caused to consumers by contaminated food, and because of the globalization of markets and the reach of the media; So, buyers seek to protect their brands through specific controls.

Eventually, these criteria are approved in the markets of Europe and North America and commercial standards recognized by several retailers. At present buyers and distributors have maintained the demand for certification of their food suppliers throughout the entire distribution chain.

In addition, governments have also strengthened their regulations to reduce the risk of consumers being affected by the marketing of contaminated food.

  1. What are the benefits of implementing certifications that include quality management systems?

Management systems allow companies the participation and support of high management; Set its short, medium, and long term goals; Organize and coordinate their efforts; Assign responsibilities among its collaborators for monitoring, evaluating, and correcting their processes and results with respect to their objectives.

Management systems allow a comprehensive view of the company and its processes, allowing the detection of deviations that may affect the product and even the organization due to pollution, environmental or social responsibility risks; The management system helps to effectively implement corrective actions if needed.

Basically, the benefits of management systems are that the same company constantly evaluates itself at all levels, allowing it to improve its processes to adapt to the needs of the market, which translates into the continuous and sustainable improvement of the business in the long term. Some organizations choose a certification body that can handle all certification needs. By combining multiple audits through a single vendor, producers can reduce costs and administrative and operational disruption associated with multiple audits during the year.

  1. What do you think of the different certifications that exist in the market?

The fact that there are different certification schemes is since buyers or retailers handle specific requirements for their suppliers, although the basis of all is food safety, some reinforce environmental issues, others of social responsibility, and even sustainability. The fact that the certification standards are not equivalent, causes buyers to maintain certain preferences over some.

Also, the fact that there are several standards in the market has made it possible for a single supplier to be audited multiple times in its season depending on the customers it manages, so having a management system also allows them to manage more efficiently Your resources to meet all your certification needs.

  1. What do you consider that are the challenges facing family businesses competing in an international environment?

When family businesses grow quickly, as is the case of some agricultural companies in Sinaloa, with a strong presence in both domestic and international markets, one of the main challenges is precisely to design an organizational structure capable of supporting the needs imposed on them by their markets.

The organization must have personnel trained to perform key functions and assign management responsibilities to manage financial, physical, and human capital resources so that the operation can maintain its product supply, but on a larger scale.


  1. What do you think about the Eleven Rivers certification?

The Eleven Rivers standard is an initiative of producers associated with CAADES, to address the challenges that the market has presented for the outbreaks of pollution related to tomatoes and cucumbers in recent years.

Adequate implementation of Eleven Rivers criteria among producers will allow alignment of safety criteria, process quality, traceability, social and environmental responsibility based on applicable regulations, with the idea of ​​endorsing the fresh products produced in Sinaloa.

The impact of this initiative is very relevant because Sinaloa is one of the main exporting states of fresh products and have a standard like Eleven Rivers allows to determine important aspects in the prevention of risks, to monitor them, to minimize them and to control them properly.

  1. ¿Cuáles consideras que son los principales retos a los que se enfrenta el sector agrícola en México?

El crecimiento de la producción agrícola de exportación en México por demanda de los mercados norteamericano, europeo y asiático, exige mantener una competitividad a nivel no solo nacional sino internacional, ya que los productos mexicanos no están compitiendo solo entre sus pares sino con oferta de otros países como Costa Rica, Chile, Perú e incluso China.

Los retos no son sólo a nivel comercial sino también técnico, pues para que las empresas agrícolas puedan ser sostenibles en el futuro, es necesario considerar el uso eficiente de los recursos naturales, humanos, tecnológicos y económicos.

El manejo adecuado del agua y suelo, el uso racional de los agroquímicos, la protección de los recursos ambientales como polinizadores e insectos benéficos y el empleo de técnicas desarrolladas para el consumo eficiente de la energía; permitirán a las empresas agrícolas poder competir a nivel internacional en el largo plazo.

  1. What do you consider the main challenges facing the agricultural sector in Mexico?

The growth of agricultural export production in Mexico by the demand of North American, European, and Asian markets requires maintaining a competitiveness not only nationally but also internationally, since Mexican products are not competing only among their peers but with the supply of other Countries such as Costa Rica, Chile, Peru and even China.

The challenges are not only commercial are also technical, because for agricultural enterprises to be sustainable in the future, it is necessary to consider the efficient use of natural, human, technological and economic resources.

The proper management of water and soil, the rational use of agrochemicals, the protection of environmental resources such as pollinators and beneficial insects and the use of techniques developed for the efficient consumption of energy; Will allow agricultural companies to compete at the international level in the long term.

  1. ¿Algo adicional que quieras comentar?

Particularmente creo que el hecho de que los productores agrícolas en Sinaloa, a través de CAADES y la iniciativa de Eleven Rivers, estén tomando conciencia sobre sus propias prácticas con el fin de garantizar la inocuidad de sus productos, reforzar sus prácticas sociales y ambientales es un esfuerzo muy positivo, pues ofrecerá no solo beneficios hacia la propia organización sino que se reflejarán a nivel local dentro de la industria de alimentos frescos e incluso hasta las comunidades de donde proviene gran parte de los trabajadores eventuales de campo.

Para NSF representa una labor muy importante el poder participar con la iniciativa de Eleven Rivers y estamos en la mejor disposición de contribuir en el logro de los objetivos que se han planteado.

  1. Anything else you would like to comment?

I believe that the fact that agricultural producers in Sinaloa, through CAADES and the Eleven Rivers initiative, are becoming aware of their own practices in order to guarantee the food safety of their products, to reinforce their social and environmental practices. A very positive effort, since it will offer not only benefits towards the organization itself but will be reflected at the local level within the fresh food industry and even to the communities where a large part of the field workers come from.

For NSF it is very important to be able to participate with the Eleven Rivers initiative and we are in the best position to contribute to the achievement of the objectives that have been proposed.