Eastern Produce Council Leadership Class Discusses Food Safety at Special Seminar

The 2023 Eastern Produce Council (EPC) Leadership Class received training on the Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA) during a seminar on April 25, prior to the general EPC membership meeting at Top Golf in Edison, NJ. “Twenty-two members of our class discussed food safety issues and worked in smaller groups on a very engaging exercise about low, medium and high risk situations,” said Susan McAleavey Sarlund, EPC Executive Director. “Food safety reaches into all aspects of our industry, so it’s an important topic to incorporate into any leadership development program.”

The food safety seminar was led by Meredith Melendez, Associate Professor at Rutgers Cooperative Extension in Ewing, NJ. “The value of presenting to the EPC class really affords us an opportunity to give this diverse group of participants from throughout the produce supply chain a window into what farmers go through to meet the food safety requirements asked of them,” she said. “It’s helpful in allowing all sectors of the industry to communicate with each other as well as understand the hoops growers go through and the types of resources they can rely on. It closes the loop in terms of dialogue. And, for us at Rutgers, we communicate with farmers all the time so being able to communicate with the buyer end is appreciated.”

The EPC Leadership program delivers growth and knowledge experiences in a variety of venues. “We provide our select participants the chance to develop even greater skills and experience in both field and classroom,” said McAleavey Sarlund. “We’ve already had some great exchanges so far this year with our largest class yet. We look forward to our fall activities including field tours and a leadership seminar.”

Participants selected for this year’s program include: Brian Arena, Four Seasons Produce Inc.; Julie Barber, The Oppenheimer Group; Lauren Barczak, Procacci Brothers Sales Corp.; Jack Christy, The Oppenheimer Group; Andrea Cutler, Michael Cutler Company; Tyler Davidov, Suja; Anna Fagan, AeroFarms; Michael Hill, Nature Sweet; Chris Jacobsen, Silo; Mike Kominsky, Ventura Foods; Savannah Lloyd, Farm-Wey Produce Inc.; Joshua Minton, Frank Donio Inc.; Isaac Olivas, Fowler Farms; Luke Palizay, Pacific Trellis Fruit; Max Pozzessere, Little Leaf Farms; Nicolina Rutherford, Wakefern Food Corp.; Jessica Sarter, Pulmuone Foods; Jerry Scherwin, PennRose Farms; Christopher Scotti, John Vena Inc.; Eric Smith, John Vena Inc.; Karolina Sokolska, Hampton Farms; Alexis Sommers, F&S Fresh Foods; Joseph Strumolo, Wakefern Food Corp.; Stephanie Tramutola, A & J Produce Corp.; Jenna Vaccaro, Sugar Foods; and Nicholas Vargas, Wakefern Food Corp.

ATTACHED PHOTO: 2023 EPC Leadership Class poses for a photo after its FSMA seminar at Top Golf.