Representatives from the nation’s leading produce trade associations and California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary A G Kawamura announced plans to create a Center for Produce Safety at the University of California–Davis.
The center will be housed at UC Davis’ Western Institute for Food Safety and Security (WIFSS), whose mission is to conduct research that enhances the safety and security of the nation’s food supply. The Produce Marketing Association (PMA) is contributing $2 million to establish the center. Taylor Farms of Salinas CA has also pledged to contribute another $2 million in cash as well another $1 million of research already planned by the company. PMA will work with the state of California, which also is contributing $500,000, and other industry groups to secure more money for research and training.
The Center for Produce Safety will primarily focus on two critical objectives. First, it will serve as an unprecedented clearinghouse for all research related to produce safety. This initiative is the first in the industry designed to capture all existing scientific data on food safety in one central repository. Second, the center will finance new scientific studies focused on developing new answers that mitigate risks associated with the nation’s produce supply.