UC Davis to honor PMA’s Silbermann
Bryan Silbermann, president and CEO of the Produce Marketing Association (PMA), will be honored Oct. 5 with an “Award of Distinction” from the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CA&ES) at the University of California, Davis.
The award is presented annually to those whose contributions and achievements enhance the college’s ability to provide cutting-edge research, top-notch education and innovative outreach, according to a press release. Silbermann is being recognized as a “Friend of the College” for his crucial role in establishing the Center for Produce Safety (CPS) at UC Davis in response to an outbreak of E. coli in spinach in 2006. Seven other people—faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the college — will also receive the award.
Silbermann, then-CA&ES Dean Neal Van Alfen and then-California Secretary of Food and Agriculture A.G. Kawamura were the principal architects of the new center. At Silbermann’s recommendation, the PMA board of directors approved $2 million in start-up funding for CPS administrative expenses. Once PMA’s pledge was in place, others followed with commitments to serve on the CPS advisory board or technical committee and, in the case of Taylor Farms, pledge an additional $2 million to start a research program.
CPS has since become a broadly respected resource that identifies research priorities, funds research and coordinates forums to convey research information throughout the produce industry. To date, it has funded 42 research projects in four countries at 17 research institutions and in 12 U.S. states. In addition to direct research, CPS is viewed as a go-to resource for federal and state food safety agencies seeking information on current industry practices.