The newly announced $1.8 million Center for Produce Safety (CPS) research grant awards combined with two other Produce Marketing Association (PMA) events offer significant value to the global produce industry on food safety issues. The 10 new research awards, along with several upcoming educational forums, will further the global industry's quest to answer critical questions in specific areas of food safety at all levels of the supply chain. To date, CPS has funded 69 projects valued at $10.6 million.
"Food safety continues to be top of mind for consumers and industry leaders worldwide," says Bryan Silbermann, PMA president and CEO. "PMA's donation of more than $3 million over the last five years, along with our continued involvement in education and training around the globe, demonstrates our commitment to CPS and continuous improvement for the entire industry in food safety. CPS isn't just for the U.S. It's global and it is a great investment in the future of our industry, regardless of where you grow or do business."
PMA is teaming up with CPS to deliver information to the industry in several ways:
CPS research key focus at Fresh Summit
Attendees from around the world will find critical information stemming from previous CPS research on wash water in the education series presented during PMA's Fresh Summit on October 26 in Anaheim, Calif.
"No matter where you're located, it is important to understand how to wash produce correctly and the management practices available," says Dr. Bob Whitaker, PMA chief science and technology officer and chairman of the Technical Advisory Committee of CPS. "This interactive discussion with industry leaders and scientific experts will highlight wash water as an example of how preventive controls truly impact food safety and the bottom line."
Food safety research has global appeal
Members of the Australia-New Zealand fresh produce industry will have the chance to interact with PMA and CPS food safety experts during the Fresh Produce Safety Forum on November 8 in Sydney, Australia. The forum allows for industry stakeholders to contribute to the development of a new paradigm for addressing produce safety research, outreach and response in Australia. Participating presenters include Whitaker; Bonnie Fernandez-Fenaroli, executive director of CPS; Lorna Christie, PMA chief operating officer; Richard Bennett of Horticulture Australia Ltd.; and Robyn McConchie, associate professor and head of the Department of Plant and Food Sciences at the University of Sydney.
"This forum gives us the opportunity to continue to spread food safety key learnings around the globe," says Whitaker. "Specifically we hope to translate industry-relevant, U.S.-based research outcomes [from the CPS] for application in the Australian fresh produce industries and raise awareness of the challenges for produce safety and the importance of enhancing produce safety practices in Australia."
CPS honors PMA's Silbermann
Further recognition of the increasing role of CPS is the honoring of PMA's Silbermann on October 5 with an Award of Distinction from the College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences at the University of California-Davis. Silbermann was recognized as a "Friend of the College" for his crucial role in establishing the Center for Produce Safety at UC Davis. This award is presented annually to those whose contributions and achievements enhance the college's ability to provide cutting-edge research, top-notch education and innovative outreach.