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Fresh Express donates $500K to fund produce safety research

WOODLAND, Calif. — Value-added salad leader Fresh Express BB #:115030 has contributed $500,000 to Center for Produce Safety’s BB #:339618 current capital campaign to fund fresh produce food-safety research.

In making the announcement with CPS officials, company President John P. Olivo urged the fresh produce industry to “drive together” and “never rest” in the shared quest to enhance produce safety.

Fresh Express’s support of CPS is motivated by two drivers, according to Olivo: the company’s foundational commitment to product safety, and to further CPS’s produce safety-centric mission to fund science, find solutions and fuel change.

For Fresh Express, said Olivo, “food protection excellence is embedded as an essential value throughout the entire Fresh Express network and family of employees and partners. 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.”

For example, Fresh Express Vice President, Food Safety and Quality John Gurrisi noted that after the 2006 fresh spinach foodborne-illness outbreak, the industry experienced a turning point. That’s when Fresh Express first invested in peer-reviewed research to learn more about foodborne pathogens and possible root causes of leafy greens contamination.

“Those projects yielded some eye-opening results, and reinforced the absolute necessity for shared food safety research to protect public health,” Gurrisi said. “Fresh Express donated its first $500,000 to CPS in 2015 to fund continuing research efforts, and is why Fresh Express has made another priority contribution now to help fund CPS’s current important work.”

CPS answers industry’s top produce safety questions

Fresh Express’ $500,000 goes to CPS’s latest research capital fundraising campaign, which will finance the center’s work for five years. To date, dozens of organizations from across the fresh produce supply chain have contributed $8.2 million to the campaign.

Here’s how CPS puts that funding to work: Each year, the center’s diverse Technical Committee identifies industry’s top produce safety questions, then calls on researchers to answer them. Learnings are then shared with industry, government, public health and other produce safety stakeholders through a range of knowledge transfer tools, including: a searchable online research database; emails and webinars; columns in top produce-industry trade media outlets; CPS social media feeds; and an annual Research Symposium, to be held June 21-22 this year in San Diego.

Since its founding in 2007, Center for Produce Safety has invested $36 million to date in 211 produce-centric food safety research projects.

Olivo: “Drive together,” “Never rest”

Fresh Express’s Olivo called on his counterparts across the fresh produce supply chain to come together to advance the cause of fresh produce food safety in general, and to support CPS specifically.

“The fresh produce industry must unify around food safety. We all need to drive together toward common food safety goals, rather than individually or competitively,” he said. “That’s what will ensure the greatest protection for consumers, and ultimately lead to the greatest success for everyone.”

Toward that end, he urged industry to join Fresh Express in supporting CPS.

“It is imperative that the fresh produce industry continually advance mitigation strategies that are grounded in science, to safeguard the fresh produce supply and to protect public health,” he said. “From its inception, CPS has been fulfilling its critical produce-centric role with rigorous research, integrity and transparency.”

“Never rest,” Olivo concluded.

Contributors to date

As of April 20, the following companies have generously contributed to CPS’s new fundraising campaign. A current list of contributors can be viewed at www.centerforproducesafety.org/2020-campaign.php.

Diamond Level Supporters, $1,000,000+
Taylor Farms
Western Growers

Platinum Level Supporters, $500,000 – $999,999
Dole Fresh Vegetables/Dole Food Company
California Citrus Quality Council
Fresh Express

Gold Level Supporters, $250,000 – $499,999
California Fresh Fruit Association
Sysco
Tanimura & Antle
Washington State Tree Fruit Association

Silver Level Supporters, $100,000 – $249,999
Lipman Family Farms
California Cantaloupe Advisory Board/California Melon Research Board
JV Smith Companies
Promotora Agricola El Toro
Western Precooling
Grimmway Farms/Cal-Organic
Wawona Frozen Foods
McEntire Produce, Inc.
Costco Wholesale
Driscoll’s
Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association
Food Safety Net Services (FSNS)
The Giumarra Companies
GreenGate Fresh
iFoodDecisionSciences, Inc.
Markon Cooperative, Inc.
Mexican Hass Avocado Importers Association
Mission Produce, Inc.
organicgirl
Pacific International Marketing
Robinson Fresh
Steinbeck Country Produce
The Produce News, media partner

Bronze-Plus Level Supporters, $50,000 to $99,999
International Fresh Produce Association
The Oppenheimer Group
Bayer
Bonduelle Fresh Americas
California Avocado Commission
DiMare Fresh
GoodFarms
H-E-B
L&M Companies
Meijer
New York Apple Association
The Wegman Family Charitable Foundation
Food Safety News, media partner

Bronze Level Supporters, up to $49,999:
Church Brothers Farms
Coastline Family Farms, Inc.
Little Bear Produce
Texas International Produce Association
Duda Farm Fresh Foods, Inc.
Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association
International Paper
Vesta Foodservice
Diversified Restaurant Systems, Inc.
Florida Tomato Committee
Pasquinelli Produce Co.
IEH Laboratories & Consulting Group
Tyger Sales and Marketing, LLC
Wish Farms
National Watermelon Association
Azzule / PrimusLabs
Blue Book Services, Inc.
Primus Labs
Pacific Ag Pak, Inc

Many industry organizations have supported CPS since it was founded in 2007. A complete list of contributors to CPS’s 2015 campaign can be viewed at www.centerforproducesafety.org/2015-campaign.php.

About Center for Produce Safety

The 501(c)(3) nonprofit Center for Produce Safety (CPS) focuses exclusively on funding science, finding solutions and fueling change in fresh produce food safety. The center is a unique partnership, bringing together leaders from industry, government, and the scientific and academic communities. CPS funds credible, independent research worldwide, then transfers that knowledge and tools to industry and other stakeholders through an annual Research Symposium, its website, webinars, trade press guest columns and other outreach. Since it was founded in 2007, Center for Produce Safety has invested more than $36 million to fund produce-specific safety research. For more information, visit www.centerforproducesafety.org.

About Fresh Express

Fresh Express is the brand leader in Value Added Salads and is dedicated to providing consumers with healthy, convenient ready-to-eat salads, leafy greens, vegetables and fruits. With the invention of its special Keep Crisp bag in the 1980s, Fresh Express pioneered the retail packaged salad category and was the first to make them available to grocery stores nationwide. Today, Fresh Express fresh salads come in more than 100 different varieties offering exciting new flavors and convenient new ways to meet the daily dietary requirements for both conventional and organic fresh produce. More than 14 million consumers each week enjoy healthy, convenient ready-to-eat Fresh Express salads, spinach and vegetables. For more information, visit www.FreshExpress.com.