SEPC: Translating science into action

ORLANDO, FL – Some of the smartest people in the produce industry work in food safety, but if that work isn’t turned into something useable and explained to the rest of the industry, it won’t be as effective.

Trevor Suslow, vice president of food safety for the Produce Marketing Association, addresses SEPC attendees as Dave Corsi, vice president of produce and floral for Wegmans Food Markets and chairman for the Center for Produce Safety, looks on.

“Science is great, but if it’s not applicable, it’s not that great,” said Dave Corsi, vice president of produce and floral for Wegmans Food Markets and chairman for the Center for Produce Safety, to attendees of a March 8 workshop on food safety at the Southeast Produce Council’s annual Southern Exposure conference.

He said as a non-scientist, it’s critical for experts put things into a language that retailers like him can use and explain to consumers.

In that light, CPS has formed a Knowledge Transfer Task Force, which explains the group’s work to executive level leaders in the produce industry, chaired by Doug Grant, executive vice president and chief operations officer for The Oppenheimer Group.

Trevor Suslow, vice president of food safety for the Produce Marketing Association, said as the food safety community investigated the E. coli outbreaks in romaine the past year, it knew it had to work more quickly than it was used to.

He said agriculture water studies were pulled out the regular CPS research sequence to get people working on solutions sooner.

“The water source is frequently identified as the root cause factor in produce outbreaks and recalls,” Suslow said. “We need an inexpensive tool that is easy to implement.”

Greg Johnson is Director of Media Development for Blue Book Services