Newark, Del. — Produce Marketing Association (PMA) leaders applauded the success of the PMA-supported Center for Produce Safety’s (CPS) first-ever Research Symposium held on June 23 as a watershed event for the industry’s food safety efforts.
“In my entire career, I have never seen such a profound and critical return on any investment that PMA has made on behalf of our membership,” said Bryan Silbermann, PMA President & CEO and a member of the CPS’s Executive Committee. “The produce industry has already received tremendous value from CPS, and they are just getting started. To see industry leaders, top government officials, researchers and health experts collaboratively digging into the results of CPS-funded research was powerful and groundbreaking stuff.”
PMA founded CPS in 2007 along with the University of California at Davis, the California Department of Food and Agriculture, and Taylor Farms. PMA has provided nearly $3 million to fund the center’s operations for its first four years. The association also contributes in-kind the work of PMA Chief Science & Technology Officer Dr. Bob Whitaker, who chairs the center’s Technical Committee and is a member of the center’s Executive Committee. That committee established the center’s research priorities and directs its granting of research funds.
“Food safety is the fresh produce industry’s most pressing issue, today as it was in 2007, it was truly a momentous occasion for the Center of Produce Safety to host its first research symposium,” said Dave Corsi, immediate past chairman of PMA’s Board of Directors and vice president of produce for Wegmans Markets. “Wegmans is honored to be involved in this week’s proceedings. I personally applaud PMA, Taylor Farms, UC Davis and the state of California for their foresight and commitment to fund the scientific exploration needed to build greater consumer confidence in our healthy, fresh products.”
Corsi added, “It was paramount that our industry create CPS to answer our highest-priority questions, and it is paramount that we sustain its ongoing work. This is especially true when the center is delivering the best science available to guide real-world solutions that will help our industry enhance the safety of our products.”
“This was not your typical research conference, or our typical research organization,” said Joe Pezzini, COO of Ocean Mist Farms, chair of PMA’s Produce Safety, Science and Technology Committee. “With these kinds of results by year two, CPS has earned our industry’s respect and deserves even greater industry’s support and participation.”
Source: Produce Marketing Association
Photo shows Bill Pool of Wegmans Food Markets (left) and Hank Giclas of Western Growers Association serving on a discussion panel for Session III "Potential vectors for pathogen transfer during field production." Photo courtesey of Center for Produce Safety.