March 9, 2016

PRESS RELEASE: Western Growers Donates $1 Million to Bolster Food Safety Research, Marking $10 Million Milestone for Center for Produce Safety Campaign

By: Stephanie Metzinger

WG challenges farm-to-fork industry partners to invest in food safety solutions with $1 million donation to Campaign for Produce Safety

IRVINE, Calif. (March 10, 2016) – Western Growers (WG) has donated $1 million to the Center for Produce Safety (CPS) to advance food safety research and develop ready-to-use solutions to improve the safety of fresh produce globally. WG’s contribution puts CPS over the $10 million mark for their Campaign for Produce Safety, which aims to raise $20 million by 2020 to fund critically needed, actionable food safety research. 

“With nearly a decade of cooperation and collaboration between our two organizations, we are honored to help CPS reach the $10 million milestone in their fundraising campaign,” said Tom Nassif, Western Growers president and CEO. “The safety of consumers is a top priority for our industry which is why I encourage every farm-to-fork stakeholder to consider how they can further contribute to the development of the strongest food safety system in the world.”

CPS—a partnership between industry, government and academia—has supported over 100 research projects and awarded more than $18 million to develop science-based solutions that prevent or minimize produce safety vulnerabilities since its inception in 2007. Working with some of the world’s leading produce safety scientists, CPS has discovered key findings that have led to improved safety practices including utilizing effective buffer zones as hazard management tools, validating the efficacy of the wash process and establishing controls that prevent Salmonella contaminants from developing tolerances to treatments. 

“CPS is the only organization where the produce supply and demand chain works collaboratively with the regulatory, research and academic community to identify research needs, conduct research and translate findings into science-based implementable solutions and guidance from field to fork,” said Stephen Patricio, CPS chairman and Westside Produce president and CEO. “Western Growers has been an integral component of CPS throughout its history, and the $1 million pledge is an example of their commitment to the future of CPS.”

CPS’ Campaign for Produce Safety, which publicly launched in September 2015, has reached the halfway mark of its fundraising goal through the support of industry partners who have stepped up and made significant financial commitments in support of the common goal of strengthening food safety practices. The support of every stakeholder in the supply chain is needed to raise the additional $10 million needed to double the output of produce safety research and advance educational initiatives to further translate research findings into action.

“The Campaign for Produce Safety is paramount to the continuation of our work to identify and fill in produce food safety knowledge gaps,” said Bonnie Fernandez-Fenaroli. “With the generous support of our campaign contributions CPS can increase the amount of industry-focused food safety research while broadening the scope geographically and throughout the supply chain.”

For more information about the Campaign for Produce Safety, please visit the CPS website.