United Fresh Produce Association Expands Support For Future of Produce Safety Professionals; Tom Stenzel and Jennifer McEntire Comment
WASHINGTON, DC - Furthering its commitment to the future of produce safety professionals and the industry as a whole, United Fresh Produce Association announced it has added two part-time summer interns in addition to complimentary registration to the produce safety track of Reimagine Conversations for all undergraduate and graduate students who are interested in produce safety.
“Consumers and the industry alike ultimately benefit from the efforts of produce safety professionals,” says Tom Stenzel, President and CEO at United Fresh. “Issues related to Cyclospora, water quality, and the application of new scientific tools necessitate ongoing effort. Attracting and developing new talent is critical to the success of our industry.”
United Fresh has a longstanding commitment to expose students to the produce industry and support produce safety professionals as they launch their careers, a press release explained.
The association is offering students the unique opportunity to learn and network with leading professionals in the produce industry through their participation in the food safety track of Reimagine Conversations.
“As a food science student, I had no idea of the career possibilities outside of the laboratory, and very little understanding of the relevance of my studies to the produce industry,” explains Dr. Jennifer McEntire, Senior Vice President Food Safety and Technology at United Fresh. “Twenty years ago, an internship changed the course of my career path, and I am grateful that United Fresh is willing to expose students to the variety of topics and issues associated with a career in produce safety.”
Karuna Kharel, who is currently completing her doctoral studies in food science and technology at Louisiana State University, will support the development of resources and fact sheets on Whole Genome Sequencing, review the public health and industry burden of Cyclospora, and develop best practices for remote audits in consultation with a volunteer workgroup during her summer internship, the press release noted.
Kharel has conducted research on the die-off of E. coli on watermelon, pathogen inactivation during thermal treatment of in-shell pecans, and supported a USAID funded program to provide GAP technical assistance to officials in Guyana, in addition to serving as a trainer for the Produce Safety Alliance Grower training and Preventive Controls Qualified Individual course.
Jenna Tsvayg is a rising junior studying food science at Penn State University who will help United Fresh update information regarding buyer acceptance of the Harmonized GAP audit standard.
She will also be helping to position United Fresh staff and members to respond to FDA’s proposed rule addressing requirements for agricultural water as part of the Produce Safety Rule in anticipation of it being released this summer. Tsvayg is leaning toward a career that combines food law and food safety after conducting microbial food safety research at Penn State during her freshman year.
AndNowUKnow will continue to report on all the latest news in the fresh produce industry, so keep an eye out.