US: Food safety in the produce industry continues to be top of mind for consumers and industry leaders in 2012. Recognizing that ensuring consumer confidence in produce is crucial to building greater consumption, the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) announces the donation of $900,000 to the Center for Produce Safety over the next two years. With this contribution, PMA is continuing to reinvest in the future of its members and is ensuring that all other funds provided to the Center go directly to fund research.
PMA’s Executive Committee approved the donation in late 2011 and the commitment was strongly endorsed by the association’s board last week. Bryan Silbermann, president and CEO of PMA made the donation on behalf of PMA in San Diego yesterday at the start of a CPS meeting attended by industry and government leaders as well as food safety researchers.
“Our Executive Committee decided that PMA’s ongoing investment in CPS really is a show of faith in the future of our industry and simply the right thing to do,” said Rich Dachman, PMA’s Chairman of the Board and senior vice president of national sales at Sysco Corporation. “We helped create CPS five years ago to bring together government, industry and researchers so we could find answers to big questions about produce safety. Today PMA and its members make a significant statement that we are moving ahead on the road to continuous improvement in our food safety knowledge and practices.”
Over the past four years, CPS has funded more than 50 research projects with grants of more than $9.2 million from government as well as organizations throughout the produce supply chain. Today’s gift brings PMA’s total contribution to CPS to more than $3 million.
“This gift could not come at a more opportune time for industry and demonstrates the leadership of PMA members,” said Bonnie Fernandez-Fenaroli, executive director, CPS. “Ensuring the health and safety of the consumer can only be enhanced through continued research and process improvements to mitigate any potential produce safety issues that may occur in the future. I could not be more pleased and honored with this generous donation.”
“Continuing to provide nutritious, flavorful and safe produce is paramount for the produce industry,” said Silbermann. “PMA members know this not only for their customers but for their families. Our passion to supply great products is shown in many ways, and I can’t think of a better way for such a demonstration than to present this gift to a proven and trusted partner like CPS.”