Center for Produce Safety and Industry Leaders Call to Expand Produce Safety Research
WOODLAND, CA - The need for increased fresh produce safety becomes more pressing every day. The Center for Produce Safety (CPS) is one industry advocate working to make our industry more safe; it recently launched a new capital fundraising campaign to finance the center’s research program for the next five years. CPS volunteer leaders recognize the importance of this investment and are calling on their colleagues to invest generously in our collective future.
“The number of outbreaks associated with leafy greens and other fresh produce reminds us why CPS exists: to generate practical science to increase the safety of all our commodities,” said Dave Corsi, past Chair of CPS’s Board of Directors and Wegmans Food Markets’ Senior Vice President of Perishable Merchandising. “The center succeeds only with the support of this industry. Now we need leaders from across our supply chain to step up and give generously.”
This campaign seeks to raise $15 million to fund additional produce safety research over the next five years, and to transfer learnings from that research to the industry and other produce safety stakeholders. According to a press release, these priorities reflect CPS’s produce-centric mission to fund science, find solutions, and fuel change to enhance the food safety of fresh produce.
Dozens of industry organizations have already pledged nearly $5 million toward the $15 million goal, announced Tim Riley, CPS Board Director and Chair of CPS’s Fundraising Committee, and President of The Giumarra Companies. Leaders from across the fresh produce supply chain stressed that CPS’s work is critical to restoring consumer confidence in the safety of all fresh produce.
“The need to safeguard fresh produce has not paused for the pandemic, so neither can we,” said CPS Board Chair Vic Smith, President and CEO of J.V. Smith Companies and CPS Board Member. “If anything, the food safety demands on our industry have increased, as how and where we eat has changed with these times.”
Smith, Corsi, and Riley have applauded the leadership of diverse organizations that already made generous commitments to the campaign, from producers and marketing boards to retailers and foodservice, as well as industry suppliers and solution providers.
“Your donation is not just about funding produce safety research, it’s about making a difference in a future of safer fresh fruits and vegetables,” said Riley. “The Giumarra Companies did not need to be asked to contribute, we volunteered. We are committed to ‘Feeding the World in a Healthy Way,’ and donating to CPS helps us put that commitment into action. We can’t think of any better way to invest in our industry.”
Since it was founded in 2007, CPS has invested $32 million to fund produce-specific food safety research worldwide, a testament to how influential this campaign will be.
“Many produce safety challenges will be solved through technology and science. As a technology company, we understand the importance of research and development to advance continuous produce safety improvement. That is why iFoodDecisionSciences contributed to CPS’s new campaign,” said Diane Wetherington, Founder and Executive Chair of this first-time CPS contributor. “Through its research, CPS can help us all achieve the objective of providing consumers with safe fruits and vegetables.”
CPS has proven to be unique in its ability to move the needle on fresh produce food safety research because it brings together leaders from industry, government, and the scientific and academic communities who have a common goal of enhancing produce safety.
“As we enter this new decade, it has never been more important to find meaningful, science-based steps that enhance produce food safety. That is critical if we want to increase produce consumption for our consumers’ health and for our farmers’ future,” said Drew McDonald, Chair of CPS’s Technical Committee and Taylor Fresh Foods Vice President of Quality and Food Safety. “CPS has been answering our food safety questions at a rapid pace, but we have much more work to do. CPS deserves continued support to help us all fuel produce safety change.”
As our industry continues working to increase the safety of fresh produce, you can count on AndNowUKnow to bring you the latest reports.