PMA, Western Growers team up for food safety

The Produce Marketing Association (PMA) and Western Growers are now creating a collaboration to focus the two organizations’ resources on fresh produce food safety.

As part of a new partnership agreement, the two organizations have embarked on a joint mission of "protecting public health and the industry, by ensuring food safety standards are effectively and consistently applied throughout the supply chain," according to a press release. A joint task force composed of members of both associations’ executive committees is working to identify and prioritize strategies and actions that will enhance food safety for their members.

Initial plans include enlisting other organizations across the supply chain to identify food safety gaps, then to create produce-specific best practices and deliver education and other vehicles to address those gaps in a time- and cost-effective manner, the release stated.

“Growers have made considerable efforts to date to enhance food safety, and have faced critical food safety challenges head on with an arsenal of continuously improving preventive protocols and good agricultural practices,” said Western Growers President and CEO Tom Nassif. “Accountability for public heath means shared responsibility and a consistent commitment throughout the supply chain. This collaboration is designed to close the loop and raise the food safety bar.”

Representatives of both groups stressed the importance of coordinated communication and education to raise awareness of food safety as a shared, supply chain-wide responsibility, and to increase the industry’s ability to prevent, detect and address breakdowns.

“With Western Growers’ significant producer base and PMA’s supply chain-wide membership, it made abundant sense to formalize our long-time working relationship to work together on this critical topic,” said PMA President and CEO Bryan Silbermann. “Food safety must be a supply chain priority, so we are starting there – though we don’t expect it will end there.”

Originally posted Monday, Oct. 8, 2012

Tags: food safety, pma, produce marketing association, western growers