Food Safety Expert to Join UFFVA Staff

WASHINGTON - Jennifer Tong will join the United Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Association (UFFVA) here July 1 as director of food safety and nutrition outreach. She brings an extensive background in food safety and nutrition within the restaurant industry.

"This is a new position at United, created to bring further strength to our industry in food safety and nutrition," said UFFVA President Tom Stenzel. "Our board of directors is committed to reinvesting association resources in these core member programs where expertise and experience are essential. Jennifer will join with United v.p. Dr. Donna Garren, a Ph.D. food microbiologist and former director of quality assurance and research development for California grower-shipper Boskovich Farms, in providing both scientific excellence and real-world experience to United members."

Tong previously served as director of health and safety regulatory affairs at the National Restaurant Association where she advised restaurant industry executives in the areas of quality assurance, food safety, security, employee safety, nutrition, and risk control.

"Jennifer will work closely with member companies as an expert consultant on food safety and nutrition, counseling grower-shippers, processors, and distributors in addressing these challenges, and bringing together retailers and foodservice customers to work cooperatively with their produce suppliers in a total supply chain approach," said Garren. "Jennifer will spend as much of her time 'outside the Washington, D.C. beltway' as within, making sure United brings our food safety and nutrition work directly to the front door of our members."

"This is a great opportunity for me to work closely with many produce and restaurant food safety leaders I already know, but now taking a much more intense role in advancing our produce industry objectives," Tong said. "Good health and nutrition demand that we significantly increase consumption of fresh produce in restaurants, as well as through other retail channels. Food safety at every step in the chain is an essential cornerstone of our success."
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