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Dozens of industry leaders advocate for and fund Center for Produce Safety

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October 12, 2022 WOODLAND, Calif. — Almost two dozen organizations from across the fresh produce supply chain have contributed from $100,000 up to $250,000 so far to Center for Produce Safety’s (CPS) BB #:339618 latest campaign to fund fresh produce food-safety research, CPS reports.

Two of those industry leaders recently came together to explain why they support CPS, and what they get out of the relationship: Calavo BB #:113203 President and CEO Brian Kocher, and The Giumarra Companies BB #:113366 President Tim Riley.

They pointed to the unique food safety challenges facing fresh produce, and to the unique role CPS plays in answering those challenges and stoking consumer confidence.

Food safety of fresh produce is unique

The Giumarra Companies’ Riley highlighted the food safety challenges facing fresh produce compared to other foods, and the importance of delivering safe produce to consumers.

“How fresh produce is grown, harvested and packed presents our industry with unique challenges unlike any other. It’s imperative that we always fund academic research in the area of food safety,” said Riley. “Continuous advancements in food safety help us ensure the products we sell to consumers are safe, in addition to being healthy.”

Calavo’s Kocher noted the responsibility that puts on industry to prioritize produce safety.

“We live food safety so that our customers, our consumers, don’t have to question or worry about it,” Kocher said. “So food safety is our bedrock promise to them. It’s part of our DNA, a goal we can never stop working towards. We’re never finished.”

Funding science for five years

CPS’s research capital campaign will finance the center’s work for five years, allowing CPS to continue its mission to fund science, find solutions and fuel change in produce safety. To date, 66 organizations from across the fresh produce supply chain have contributed.

Here’s how that CPS funding works: Each year, the center’s Technical Committee identifies industry’s top produce-safety questions, then calls on researchers to answer them. Learnings are shared with industry, government, public health and other produce safety stakeholders. Those knowledge transfer channels include: a searchable online research database; a research symposium each year, and key learnings and other resources that boil out from them; emails and webinars; columns in produce-centric trade media outlets; and CPS social media feeds.

Since its founding in 2007, Center for Produce Safety has invested $40.1 million to date in 225 produce-centric food safety research projects.  In September, CPS announced funding of 14 new projects starting in 2023, valued at just over $3.9 million. Those projects are designed to answer industry questions about, for example, evaluating and mitigating risk from Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella, controlling Cyclospora, and sanitizing harvesting bins and picking bags.

CPS returns on the investment

Calavo’s Kocher reports his company makes a very intentional effort to learn from Center for Produce Safety, including reviewing CPS research, and attending symposia and webinars.

 “I think you’re a better HR person, a better finance person, if you know more about your business – it makes us a better company when our talent can get educated,” said Kocher.

Kocher and The Giumarra Companies’ Riley called on other industry leaders to join them in supporting CPS, stressing that industry accomplishes more together than it can alone.

“The Giumarra Companies contributes to CPS because its efforts are critical to our business. Food safety has been one of our top priorities since it became known to the industry,” said Riley. “The resources and events put forth by CPS support our internal efforts in a way that we wouldn’t be able to accomplish on our own.”

“What’s good for food safety is good for the entire produce industry,” said Kocher. “It’s not why would you be involved with CPS, it’s why wouldn’t you?”

Contributors to date

As of Oct. 3, the following companies have generously contributed to CPS’s latest fundraising campaign. A current list of contributors can be viewed at

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


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.

Calavo Growers, Inc.

Costco Wholesale


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.


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


Bonduelle Fresh Americas

California Avocado Commission

DiMare Fresh



L&M Companies


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.


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

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

Bonnie Fernandez-Fenaroli, phone (530) 554-9706, email