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08/01/2022

Tom Stenzel Joins Controlled Environment Agriculture Food Safety Coalition

Former United Fresh Prez/CEO is group’s executive director
Bridget Goldschmidt
Managing Editor
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Tom Stenzel

The Controlled Environment Agriculture Food Safety Coalition (CEA FSC) has retained The Stenzel Group LLC consultancy to provide management services and named former United Fresh Produce Association President and CEO and current Stenzel Group principal Tom Stenzel its new executive director. 

In his latest role, Stenzel will work with the CEA FSC board to develop strategic and business plans to enable the coalition to better serve the controlled-environment agriculture sector of the produce industry. 

“Tom’s almost 30 years’ experience leading United Fresh and the recent combination with the Produce Marketing Association to form the International Fresh Produce Association makes him an outstanding leader to help us evolve our mission beyond just food safety and leafy greens to serve the broader controlled-environment agriculture category,” noted Marc Oshima, co-founder of Newark, N.J.-based AeroFarms and board chair of the CEA FSC. 

Added Stenzel: “I’ve worked with many of these companies since their startup. I’ve seen their potential, and am now watching their impact grow daily, as consumers and retailers alike embrace their role as high-quality, sustainable, safe and local producers. I’m excited to help this sector expand its impact.” 

Stenzel succeeds Dr. Elisabeth Hagen, a former USDA undersecretary for food safety who recently resigned from the executive director role.  

“Elisabeth did a great job building on our core food safety platform and has set the stage for more expansive growth to service the broader controlled-environment agriculture industry, and we will miss her leadership and expertise,” Oshima said. 

The CEA FSC was formed in 2019 to serve as a forum for leafy-greens growers in high-tech greenhouses and indoor vertical farms to educate and share best practices with regulators, customers and other indoor growers. Its primary goals were to develop credible, strong and appropriate food safety standards and communicate the value and benefits of controlled-environment agriculture to the broader industry and ultimately to the consumer. In addition to overseeing development and revisions to the CEA Leafy Greens Module and Seal, the coalition’s mission has included spearheading research and development in support of the industry and championing CEA-grown produce as a key component of a safe and secure domestic food supply. 

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