U.S – The Center for Produce Safety (CPS), a non-profit that provides the produce industry with information on enhancing the safety of fresh fruits and vegetables, has received funding to facilitate science-based food safety research for the fresh produce industry.

Value-added salad leader Fresh Express announced it has contributed US$ 500,000 to the project.

The donation was motivated by the company’s foundational commitment to superior food safety and the development of advanced strategies and technologies, to ensure a consistently safe food supply and to protect public health.  

According to Fresh Express President John P. Olivo, food safety excellence is an embedded value throughout the Fresh Express network.

“Everything we do is dedicated first and foremost to ensuring that our products are safe and that the trust consumers place in us to deliver highest quality, food-safe products is earned – each and every day,” he said.

Fresh Express has a long history of investment aimed toward bringing together independent experts and collaborators in the joint pursuit of preventing foodborne illness.

In 2008, the company sponsored the industry’s first Fresh Produce Safety Research Summit and as recently as 2019 formed the Blue-Ribbon Panel on the Prevention of Cyclospora in Fresh Produce.

Fresh Express contributed its first US$ 500,000 to CPS in 2015, and this year’s donation will help finance the Center’s research projects over the next five years.

“It’s critical that the fresh produce industry continually advance mitigation strategies that are grounded in science to protect public health and CPS is leading that research mission,” Olivo said.

The Center for Produce Safety funds credible, independent research worldwide, then transfers that knowledge and tools to industry and other stakeholders.

Earlier in the year, it provided funding for 12 new research projects collectively valued at just over US$3.9 million to help answer some of the industry’s most pressing food safety questions.

Among the topics included in the 12 projects are risk evaluation and mitigation of Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella, Cyclospora control, and sanitation for harvesting bins and picking bags.

Ranging from commodities such as leafy greens to tree fruit to onions, the research was vetted by industry experts on the CPS Technical Committee and began this January.

Citrus producers from across California also made a collective contribution of US$500,000 to CPS to fund produce-specific food safety research.

Their funds will support CPS’s work to identify industry’s top produce safety questions, call on researchers to answer them, then transfer learnings to industry, government, public health and other stakeholders.

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