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Industry leaders call to expand produce safety research

Calling out the need to expand research to answer produce-specific food-safety questions, the Center for Produce Safety has launched a new capital fundraising campaign to finance the center’s research program for the next five years. CPS volunteer leaders from across the supply chain are calling on their colleagues to invest generously in their collective future.

“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 Cos. “If anything, the food-safety demands on our industry have increased, as how and where we eat has changed with these times.”

The CPS 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 industry and other produce safety stakeholders. Those 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 Cos.

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 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.”

“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.”

Smith, Corsi and Riley applauded the leadership of diverse organizations that have already made generous commitments to the campaign, from producers and marketing boards to retailers and foodservice, as well as industry suppliers and solution providers.

“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.”

Since it was founded in 2007, CPS has invested $32 million to fund produce-specific food safety research worldwide. It then transfers those research learnings and tools to industry, government and other produce safety stakeholders through a variety of outreach activities, including an annual Research Symposium, webinars and articles in industry-focused publications. Findings from CPS-funded research can be accessed through the center’s website.

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.”
 
Nearly $5 million committed to date
As of Jan. 15, the following companies have made generous commitments to the new CPS fundraising campaign. A current list of contributors to this latest campaign can be viewed here.
 
Diamond Level Supporters, $1,000,000+
Taylor Farms
Western Growers
 
Platinum Level Supporters, $500,000 - $999,999
Dole Fresh Vegetables/Dole Food Co.
 
Gold Level Supporters, $250,000 - $499,999
California Fresh Fruit Association
Tanimura & Antle
 
Silver Level Supporters, $100,000 - $249,999
JV Smith Cos.
Promotora Agricola El Toro
Western Precooling
Grimmway Farms/Cal-Organic
McEntire Produce Inc.
Driscoll's
The Giumarra Cos.
GreenGate Fresh
iFoodDecisionSciences
Mission Produce Inc.
Pacific International Marketing
 
Bronze-Plus Level Supporters, $50,000 to $99,999
The Oppenheimer Group
Amigo Farms
California Avocado Commission
GoodFarms
L&M Cos.
 
Bronze Level Supporters, up to $49,999:
Coastline Family Farms Inc.
Little Bear Produce
Duda Farm Fresh Foods Inc.
Diversified Restaurant Systems Inc.
Florida Tomato Committee
Tyger Sales and Marketing LLC
Wish Farms
National Watermelon Association
Blue Book Services Inc.

Many legacy contributors have supported the center since its inception. A complete list of contributors to the 2015 campaign can be viewed here.

 

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