Produce Industry Sets Agenda for Center for Produce Safety, UC Davis

DAVIS, Calif. -- Nearly 40 produce industry leaders, association representatives, government regulators, academics, and public / private partners met here at the University of California's campus here last week to collaborate on helping define the vision and initial key projects for an international food safety initiative to be undertaken by the new Center for Produce Safety at UC Davis.

"The Center for Produce Safety is a public-private partnership we are creating as a collaborative effort of industry, government, academia, and consumer groups to enhance the safety of fresh fruits and vegetables through research, information exchange, and training worldwide," said Bryan Silbermann, president of the Newark, Del.-based Produce Marketing Association (PMA).

Primarily designed to identify and define strategy and organizational principles for the new center, meeting included produced an aggressive agenda and timeline including appointing an advisory board by July 30, and selecting an executive director within 90 days. Later this year, a symposium will be held to provide the industry with a platform to share the latest information on solutions-based research already underway for leafy greens.

Allocation of the center's research investments and oversight of active research projects will be led by a governing body consisting of leaders from industry, associations, government, and academia. The Center will fund new studies and ongoing training and will serve as a clearinghouse for research conducted worldwide.

The creation of the Center for Produce Safety is the direct result of an industry-wide response to recent E. coli outbreaks. In the fall of 2006, the Produce Marketing Association, other industry associations, and government agencies focused on investigating the cause of the outbreaks and expediting efforts to protect against the risks of future outbreaks.

The Center for Produce Safety will primarily focus on three critical objectives: a clearinghouse for all available research related to produce safety; new scientific studies focused on developing solutions that mitigate risks associated with the nation's produce supply and; investments in new research.
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