As National Food Safety Month concludes, six produce-related associations have banded together to present a resource kit for journalists covering food safety. Specifically, the kit addresses the safety issues surrounding produce items including foodborne disease and pesticides.
Because it is critical to have accurate information from reliable and credible sources, the organization's presentation strives to be an objective, comprehensive source, said Kathy Means, vice president, Produce Marketing Association, Newark, Del. Unfortunately, adequate information is not always available, since the scientific community is just beginning to get a better handle on the causes of foodborne illnesses in which produce is a suspect.
To help journalists obtain the latest information on fresh produce and food safety, the six organizations have developed a listing of more than 100 scientific, medical and government experts on produce safety. The list includes microbial experts, in addition to those versed on pesticides and integrated pest management and food-safety Internet web sites.
Another list identifies organizations and government agencies as sources of additional produce-safety information. In addition to the lists, scientific reviews and journal articles on produce safety are included as an overview of the topic. Another component of the kit is a presentation of safe food handling tips aimed at consumers.
Retailers may find the kit a helpful resource as they address food-safety issues with press representatives and consumers at the store level, Means said.
The participating produce organization are the Alliance for Food and Fiber, Los Angeles; the Canadian Produce Marketing Association, Ottawa; Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association, Orlando; Produce Marketing Association, Newark, Del.; United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association, Alexandria, Va.; and, Western Growers Association, Irvine, Calif.