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U.S. Foodservice Cites Critical Need for Food Safety Culture From Farm to Fork During Monterey PMA Conference
Date:7/27/2009

MONTEREY, Calif., July 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Providing the safest fresh fruit and vegetables to consumers takes proactive measures to limit contamination at every stage of the supply chain according to the chief food safety executive for U.S. Foodservice, one of the country's leading foodservice distributors.

"The recent outbreaks and recalls linked to produce served as a food safety wake up call for the produce industry. Since then, many leaders in the produce industry have been working to solve the issues that contribute to contamination," said Jorge Hernandez, senior vice president of food safety and quality assurance for U.S. Foodservice. "However, the produce industry can't do it by itself. It must work collaboratively with the distributor, restaurant and supermarket industries to create a food safety culture that will protect fresh fruits and vegetables from farm to fork."

Speaking at the Produce Marketing Association's Foodservice Conference & Exhibition which ran through Sunday, Hernandez asserted most of the factors that lead to contamination of fresh produce are preventable if the industries along the supply chain work together.

Hernandez participated in a panel discussion titled "Point/Counterpoint: Food Safety and Your Business," which included experts from the buy and supply side of the produce chain. Dr. Bob Whitaker, PMA's Chief Science Officer, served as moderator.

According to Hernandez, there are five key measures that will help reduce outbreaks linked to fresh produce contamination.

  1. Make food safety non-negotiable.
  2. Agree on a strict set of internationally recognized standards validated by reliable third-party audits and executed by qualified auditors.
  3. Focus on the food safety education of all employees at every segment of the supply chain.
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SOURCE U.S. Foodservice
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