Thursday, February 4, 2016
Produce Buyers & Sellers Support Food Safety Research Campaign (Target Corp.)
The fresh produce supply chain continues to unite to support the Center for Produce Safety's (CPS) Campaign for Produce Safety, as leading retail and foodservice buyers and well-known producers alike announced commitments to fund produce-specific food safety research.
CPS reports that it has now received funding commitments from (in alphabetical order) Giant Eagle, Inc., Markon Cooperative, Inc., and Target Corporation. New campaign contributors from the production side are (also listed alphabetically) Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce, Bolthouse Farms, Monterey Mushrooms, Inc., Ready Pac Foods, Inc. and Tree Top, Inc.
These eight companies have committed a combined $750,000 to the CPS campaign. The Campaign for Produce Safety is seeking to raise $20 million over the next five years to fund critically needed, actionable produce safety research. To date, the "Funding Science, Finding Solutions"-themed campaign has raised $8,202,000 since it was publicly launched in September 2015.
"When we in the produce industry discuss food safety, all too often we focus on business deals and their details. Sometimes we forget the real reason we all focus on food safety - that there are faces behind these illnesses," said Tim York, president of Markon Cooperative, Inc. "The decisions we make - like supporting the Center for Produce Safety - can impact real people in a very positive way."
"Ready Pac puts food safety at the center of everything we do, and we believe that excellence in food safety across the entire industry is critical," said Tony Sarsam, chief executive officer of Ready Pac Foods, Inc. "We take continuous improvement in food safety very seriously, and we are delighted to take this opportunity to invest and lead with the Center for Produce Safety."
"At Target, food safety is a top priority for the success of our business and the well-being of our guests. CPS's contributions help ensure the produce industry supply chain is safe, affordable and offers a range of healthy options for consumers, and we are pleased to support and advance that work," said Neshat Soofi, Target Corporation director of food and essentials safety quality assurance.
"Food safety is a top priority at Giant Eagle, we are committed to providing our customers with high quality foods that meet our strict safety standards. Our partnership with Center for Produce Safety enables us to actively support and advance industry best practices, which result in increased consumer safety," said David Rajkovich, vice president of produce and floral at Giant Eagle, Inc. "We appreciate and applaud CPS's singular focus on enhancing produce food safety."
"For more than 40 years, Monterey Mushrooms has succeeded because of our commitment to values, and at the top of these values is our dedication to food safety. We also recognize that food safety is a priority that is greater than just our company, or even our industry," said Shah Kazemi, the company's president and CEO. "Our responsibility to lead demands cooperation with and mutual support of efforts like the Center for Produce Safety, to develop new technologies and greater understanding of what all of us can do to bring confidence to the dinner tables of America."
"Bolthouse is committed to investing in critically-needed produce safety research and thoughtful solutions that meet the evolving needs of our consumers and customers," says Scott LaPorta, Bolthouse Farms president. "By supporting the Center for Produce Safety we are furthering our company's greater mission to inspire the fresh revolution, by making fresh fruits and vegetables a safe, healthy and delicious choice for everyone."
Since it was founded in 2007, the Center for Produce Safety has provided $18.4 million to fund produce-specific safety research. The Campaign for Produce Safety aims to expand this vital work to close knowledge gaps with science-based research that enhances produce safety in the United States and worldwide.