PHOENIX -- Branded items aside, produce is still very much a commodity product, a reality that makes food safety an even more important component of the food industry's relationship with customers, according to a panel of experts who spoke at United 2000, the annual convention of the Alexandria, Va.-based United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association. "If there's a problem with lettuce, then [consumers] just stop buying lettuce," said Steve Hilton, vice president of product quality and ...

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