PMA CREATES POSITION FOR SAFETY, SCIENCE INITIATIVES
NEWARK, Del. — The Produce Marketing Association here has named Robert Whitaker its first chief scientific officer. In this position, Whitaker will direct the creation of new programs and services related to food safety, traceability, sustainability and other science-based issues impacting the produce industry. Whitaker's recent credentials include helping to develop Good Agricultural Practices for the leafy greens industry after a foodborne illness outbreak devastated spinach growers in the fall of 2006. He has also served on the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement's Technical Committee, testified before both houses of Congress as an expert on food safety, and was the recipient of the International Fresh-cut Processing Association's Technical Achievement Award in 2006.
USDA ANNOUNCES NEW QUALITY MONITORING PROGRAM
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced the development of the Quality Monitoring Program, a new service that will allow companies to submit processed produce samples to USDA graders for impartial review. “This program is another example of government and industry working closely together to build services that will make a difference,” Robert Keeney, deputy administrator of the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service, said in a release. “This agreement underscores the commitment of U.S. Foodservice to the highest standards of quality, and will reconfirm that a consistent quality is maintained.” After the QMP inspections, products that do not conform to a supplier's assigned specifications are immediately reported back to the company. Earlier this month, Chicago-based U.S. Foodservice was reportedly the first company to sign an agreement with the program.