Dole Donates $750K to Center for Produce Safety
WOODLAND, CA - Health and safety standards remain of the utmost importance in the fresh produce industry as they protect not only consumers, but growers and retailers as well. To further enhance the capabilities of our industry when it comes to keeping crops and people safe, Dole Food Company announced it has contributed $750,000 to the Center for Produce Safety’s (CPS) new capital fundraising campaign to fund research.
“The produce industry has been challenged by a series of food safety issues the past few years,” said Natalie Dyenson, Vice President Food Safety and Quality at Dole Food Company. “Food safety isn’t something that affects only this grower or that grower—it affects every grower, it affects every company, and most importantly it affects every consumer. Produce is a healthy option with many health benefits, and as an industry, we need to ensure that we are producing the safest possible food and investing and following the science is the way for us to do that.”
Dole’s recent contribution to CPS is its second, having previously donated $500,000 to the organization during its 2015 capital campaign. According to a press release, Dyenson also serves on CPS’ Board of Directors, further tying the collective missions of the two entities together as they look to create safer methods across the industry.
“Selfishly, Dole is a really big, well-known brand, and we want to protect it. We have implemented a lot of [CPS] research in our own program,” continued Dyenson. “But we also want to protect this industry that is a big part of our identity. The work product that comes out of CPS’s research program is really important for the industry. We want to see that continue, for everyone in our industry.”
CPS debuted its latest capital campaign publicly in January of this year. Since the campaign was launched, CPS has raised almost $6 million toward its $15 million goal, which will help fund its work over the next five years. CPS uses the money to finance produce-specific food safety research, then transfers its findings to industry, government, and other stakeholders.
“CPS has filled a very important need for the industry,” Dyenson added. “It created a forum for industry, regulatory, and academia to come together to identify and conduct very targeted and focused research that fills a need for industry, and then provides vehicles for getting that information out. I don’t think that food safety in the produce space would have advanced as much as it has had CPS not been around.”
Every year, Dole sends a group to CPS's Research Symposium to acquire new information that can then be shared with the rest of the Dole food safety team and transferred to the company’s food safety program and its management chain. Dole also monitors for technology emerging from CPS research and whether or not it can be implemented by the company.
Current CPS research is designed to answer top food safety questions ranging from the effectiveness of various agricultural water treatments to Listeria controls and assessing the emerging threat of Cycolspora.
“We’re excited about the prospects of some of the projects coming up and what they will mean for the industry,” Dyenson said. “Better food safety is better business. We all need to participate in finding solutions.”
As new research and advancements continue to stem from organizations like CPS, AndNowUKnow will keep you updated with the latest.