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           22 January, 2021

Category:  Press » Food & Drinks


Western Growers President Responds to Retail and Food Service Industry Regarding Food Safety Standards

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2006-12-03 22:00:50     
Western Growers

Western Growers today responded to concerns and expectations from food retailers and food service industry representatives regarding food safety issues.

A letter from Tom Nassif, CEO of Western Growers, addressed to Tim Hammonds of the Food Marketing Institute, Tim York as a representative of many buyer companies, and Donna Garren of the National Restaurants Association, outlined steps taken to restore consumer and buyer confidence and ensure food safety all along the supply chain. In the letter Nassif detailed the produce industry's actions to date.

He stated that as produce suppliers in the distribution chain, "we are aggressively working to develop a set of best food safety practices with industry, academic, buyer and regulatory input. The final product will be reviewed by an expert panel of food safety scientists named by industry and public health agencies. We are on track to complete the best practices guidelines in December."

The Western Growers Board of Directors voted in October to initiate a State Marketing Agreement and a State and Federal Marketing Order process to make stringent food safety guidelines mandatory throughout the industry and invited government regulatory agencies to oversee the industry.

The letter to the food service and food retailers outlined the progress and details of the Marketing Agreement and Marketing Order. "This entire process is being coordinated with PMA (Produce Marketing Association), United Fresh, California Farm Bureau Federation, Grower Shipper Association of Central California and other organizations representing our industry," stated Nassif in the letter.

Nassif also requested cooperation from the buyer community to ensure food safety integrity throughout the supply chain. "All of these efforts ... apply only to the supply side of the chain," he stated. "In order for any supply side food safety practices and processes to be successful, we must have full support and collaboration from buyers as well."

The Western Growers letter concluded by calling for a unified approach to food safety and urged buyers to apply these standards to all producers nationally and internationally.

"As an industry we are aggressively working to develop an enforceable food safety program that will provide a specific, standardized, measurable and verifiable process that will ensure product integrity from field to fork. We must have the full cooperation and collaboration of retail and food service buyers to implement and maintain the program and process and we look forward to your support in all these efforts," stated Nassif.

Commenting on Western Growers' letter to the retail and food service industries, Nassif pointed out the shared nature of food safety responsibility. "The fact is, food safety must continue to be the top priority for not only our industry, but for all those who are involved in delivering product to the consumer. That priority will continue to have a cost and that cost must be shared by all those along the food chain, not just the growers and shippers."

Western Growers is an agriculture trade association whose members grow, pack and ship ninety percent of the fresh fruits, nuts and vegetables grown in California and seventy five percent of those commodities in Arizona. This totals about half of the nation's fresh produce.

Specialized in: Western Growers - Food Service - Safety Standards
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