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California Department of Food and Agriculture

Media Contacts: Nancy Lungren, Deputy Secretary of Public Affairs, (916) 531-3039,, Steve Lyle, Director of Public Affairs, (916) 654-0462

California Department of Food and Agriculture
Release #07-032
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Produce Industry Lauded for its Generous Funding Commitment

SACRAMENTO, April 11, 2007– Secretary A.G. Kawamura today  joined representatives from the country’s leading produce trade associations to announce the creation of the new Center for Produce Safety at the University of California, Davis.  The new Center will be housed at the Western Institute for Food Safety and Security (WIFSS).  WIFSS was founded as a partnership between private industry, government, and academia to provide comprehensive solutions to the various threats to food safety and security.

Secretary Kawamura lauded the vision and commitment by the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) to contribute $2 million to establish the Center for Produce Safety and the individual commitment of $2 million cash by Taylor Farms of Salinas, California.  Taylor Farms also has pledged to contribute $1 million in research already planned by the company.  These donations will be augmented by $200,000 in in-kind and cash contributions from the Western Growers Association, $500,000 from the California Department of Food and Agriculture and $150,000 from the Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the outreach arm of the University of California. 

“I commend PMA, Taylor Farms, Western Growers and other leaders in the produce sector for partnering with WIFSS to launch the new Center for Produce Safety at UC Davis,” said Secretary Kawamura.  “The Center for Produce Safety will lose no time putting together an aggressive research, training and outreach agenda into how and when food-borne illnesses arise in produce, and actions that can be taken to reduce these risks.  The industry’s actions will help restore consumer confidence and demonstrate that the health and safety of consumers is their ultimate priority.”

“We hope that this lead funding from the Produce Marketing Association encourages other government and industry partners to support the full build-out of this comprehensive program,” said Bennie Osburn, dean of the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. “It is critical that the solutions to food-safety issues include all the players.”



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