2018 Annual Report

Funding Science. Finding Solutions.

Fueling Change.

Change Begins With a Vision That
Fuels Real-World Action

“2018 was a difficult year for fresh produce food safety. Now, let’s imagine a future when we have difficulty recalling the last produce safety event. We look forward to working with you to get there.”

Dave Corsi, Chair, CPS Board of Directors

CPS by the Numbers

2018 Research Projects Funded

Million Dollars in 2018 Research Funding

Research Projects Funded to Date

Million Dollars in Research Projects Funded to Date

Research Institutions Funded

Countries Represented

2018 Research Symposium Attendees from 7 Countries

2018 Symposium Research Presentations

“Everyone in our produce industry should be willing to participate in CPS. We desperately need more research to guide us towards understanding all of the risks involved in producing healthy food for our consumers. Anything less is extremely short-sighted. Our companies stand to gain tremendous insight to avoid outbreaks that can devastate our markets, and cost millions of dollars in actual and opportunity costs.”

Vic Smith

JV Smith Companies CEO

CPS Refocuses to Better Fuel Change

To reflect changing times in produce safety, CPS’s Board of Directors adopted a new strategic plan starting in 2018 that focuses on these priorities:

Facilitate Actionable Research

To be more flexible and responsive, CPS revamped its annual research funding program.

Track 1, Annual Call for Research

To fund research on ongoing topics

CPS called for projects related to Listeria monocytogenes in the supply chain, postharvest preventive controls, and post-harvest interventions.

Learn More

Track 2, Innovation Challenge Grants

To fund tools that address an immediate industry need

GRABIT grants are funding tools to help growers identify and evaluate pre-harvest risks from animal agriculture in real time – aka “Growers’ Risk Assessment Biomarker Investigative Tools.”

Read More

Track 3, Ag Water Treatment

To address an industry research priority

CPS’s focus is on identifying ag water treatment solutions – where and when treatment is appropriate, and what options are available to growers.

Rapid Response Research

Funds urgent topics in coordination with industry partners

Read More

“CPS research has created an open and frank discussion about new and evolving risks associated with fresh produce. CPS is enabling greater collaboration between researchers, producers and governments, and the implementation of new control measures to protect consumers around the world. The global supply chain for produce means the work funded by CPS is having an impact internationally.”

Tammy Switucha

Canadian Food Inspection Agency Senior Director, Food Safety Requirements and CPS board director

Facilitate, Translate and Distribute Knowledge

To convey CPS learnings to industry, our new Knowledge Transfer Task Force is focusing on the executives who set company priorities, and the staff experts who apply new science to company operations.

Read More 

“Food safety is not critical to our success, it is critical to our survival. The food safety team at Lipman is empowered to drive improvements throughout the industry, not just at our company. CPS keeps the industry focused on collaboration and the need to fund research.”

Kent Shoemaker

Lipman Family Farms CEO and CPS contributor

Pursue Sustainable Funding

To ensure that CPS’s vital work to enhance fresh produce safety can continue, we must first secure a continued source of funding. Watch for a new fundraising campaign in 2019.

“Supporting Center for Produce Safety is an investment in our business, our industry and our family. We all want healthy safe food for ourselves, our parents, our children and our grandchildren. CPS is the only place that all segments of the supply and demand chain come together with regulatory agencies, academics and research scientists to work collaboratively on the health and safety of our food.”

Steve Patricio

Westside Produce President, and CPS board director and past board chair

About CPS

A Unique Partnership

The 501(c)(3) nonprofit Center for Produce Safety (CPS) brings together leaders from industry, government, and the scientific and academic communities, to work together toward the common goal of enhancing produce safety.

It’s All About the Science

CPS funds credible, independent research worldwide that provides science-based solutions to produce safety.

Knowledge Closes the Loop

CPS then transfers that knowledge and tools to industry and other stakeholders through our annual Research Symposium, our website, news media and other outreach.

“The Institute of Medicine defines public health as ‘what we as a society do collectively to assure the conditions in which people can be healthy.’ Although government has an important role, industry practices actually determine the safety of fresh produce at the point of consumption. CPS identifies research priorities, asks the right questions, and disseminates results by bringing together industry, government, scientific and academic communities. According to research, if conducted properly multidisciplinary teams outperform individuals at decision making and problem solving.”

Art Liang

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Senior Advisor, and CPS board director

CPS Impact

Key Learning: Know Your Water

Management of ag water safety is a key focus area of CPS research. Several CPS research projects offer helpful guidance on the subject.

In the Pipeline: Lm Survival

Amanda Lathrop, Ph.D., is working to help understand when and how Lm grows, survives and dies off on nontraditional fresh-cut salad ingredients.

Knowledge Closes the Loop

It takes more than new science to bring change – it takes education and knowledge-building. So CPS has added industry outreach to its toolbox.

Leading by Example: Vic Smith

The success of CPS’s research program depends on industry stepping forward to help. Vic Smith is one such industry leader.

Be the Change

2018 was a difficult year for fresh produce food safety. Now, let’s imagine a future when we have difficulty recalling the last produce safety event.

To help get there, Center for Produce Safety refocused our work in 2018. Our updated mission statement says it all: fund science, find solutions, fuel change.

CPS’s work to fund science has resulted in 154 projects in the first 10 years, generated by 42 institutions in five different countries. That research is adding tremendously to our industry’s knowledge, helping to find solutions to enhance produce safety. For example, check out what we can all learn from Laura Strawn, Ph.D.’s work, described in this report.

Now, to fuel change during our second decade, one of our priorities is to cast a broader net to industry, to share what we now know. To do that, a group of particularly passionate leaders has formed CPS’s new Knowledge Transfer Task Force.

CPS is also more focused on getting more useable tools into industry hands, even more quickly. For example, we have overhauled our research program to fund topics that emerged from recent outbreaks, and to extend challenge grants. You can read more here about these important changes.

There is much more we need to know about unwanted pathogens in our supply chain, for which we need CPS. And how are you helping to achieve a food safe future? I invite you – I urge you – to get more involved with your CPS, by:

  • Implementing our research learnings in your business. We have learned a lot in CPS’s first 10 years that should fuel change.
  • Volunteering with and/or contributing to CPS and our research, to make a difference for your company – and our industry. Watch for a new campaign call next year.

We will know we have made significant progress when it is difficult to recall the last produce safety event. Our consumers deserve it, and so do all the people along our supply chain. We look forward to working with you to get there.

David Corsi

Chair, CPS Board of Directors

About Dave Corsi +

Wegmans VP of produce and floral, Dave Corsi was elected chair of CPS’s Board of Directors in 2018. Dave is a decorated retailer and longtime industry and produce safety advocate. He previously served on and chaired Produce Marketing Association’s board. Dave also served two consecutive terms on the USDA Fruit and Vegetable Advisory Committee, advising the Secretary of Agriculture on issues affecting the industry. He led a United Fresh Produce Association task force in 2009 to create a Harmonized Food Safety Good Agricultural Practices Audit that is widely used. Dave was named “Retailer of the Year” by Produce Merchandising magazine in 2003, and “Marketer of the Year” by Vance Publishing in 2005.


Funds in: Center for Produce Safety is funded by diverse public and private sources. Industry funds come from across the fresh produce supply chain, from farm to grocer to foodservice. Public funds come from grants made by major specialty crop-producing states.

Funds out: The vast majority of CPS’s funds are spent to sponsor fresh produce safety research, and to transmit key learnings to the many and varied stakeholders of fresh produce food safety.

2018 Income

  • Research: $2,609,605 79% 79%
  • Symposium: $210,330 6% 6%
  • Operational: $502,601 15% 15%
  • Total Income: $3,322,536 100% 100%

2017 Income

  • Research: $2,039,413 74% 74%
  • Symposium: $204,296 7% 7%
  • Operational: $526,915 19% 19%
  • Total Income: $2,770,624 100% 100%

2018 Expenses

  • Research: $2,746,365 82% 82%
  • Symposium: $253,653 8% 8%
  • Operational: $338,788 10% 10%
  • Total Expenses: $3,338,806 100% 100%
Net Income/Loss: ($16,270)

2017 Expenses

  • Research: $2,228,606 81% 81%
  • Symposium: $234,064 8% 8%
  • Operational: $300,278 11% 11%
  • Total Expenses: $2,762,948 100% 100%
Net Income/Loss: $7,676

The 2018 Year End Financial Statements, Independent Auditor’s Report and accompanying Federal Reports and Schedules are publicly available, in accordance with the requirements of OMB Circular A-133, Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations, on CPS’s website.

Contributors, CPS Campaign for Produce Safety

A 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization, CPS’s funding comes from across the fresh produce supply chain and from grants from major specialty-crop producing states.

As of Dec. 31, 2018
*denotes in-kind donation

Contribution Of $1,000,000+

  • Produce Marketing Association
  • Taylor Farms
  • Western Growers

Contribution Of

  • Washington State Tree Fruit Association
  • California Citrus Quality Council
  • California Fresh Fruit Association
  • Dole
  • Fresh Express, Incorporated
  • United Fresh Produce Association

Contribution Of

  • Georgia Pacific
  • Promotora Agricola El Toro
  • Sysco
  • Tanimura & Antle
  • The Wonderful Company

“As a grower/packer/shipper, we are constantly seeking ways to improve our food safety processes. Center for Produce Safety delivers cutting edge solutions from the best and brightest researchers in the world. CPS is a game changer for the future of food safety in the fresh produce industry.”

Jimmy Bassetti

J&D Produce President and CPS contributor

Contribution Of

  • GreenGate Fresh
  • JV Smith Companies
  • Lipman Produce
  • Melissa’s
  • Pacific International Marketing
  • Target Corporation
  • The Wegman Family
    Charitable Foundation
  • Western Precooling Systems

  • Bolthouse Farms
  • California Cantaloupe Advisory Board
  • California Melon Research Board
  • Church Brothers/True Leaf Farms
  • Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association
  • International Paper
  • Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce
  • Castellini Group of Companies
  • Driscoll’s
  • Florida Tomato Committee
  • Freshway Foods
  • Markon Cooperative, Inc.
  • McEntire Produce, Inc.
  • Ocean Mist Farms
  • Organicgirl
  • Ready Pac Foods, Inc.
  • The Oppenheimer Group
  • Wish Farms
  • The Produce News*

“The mission statement ‘Fund science, find solutions, fuel change’ captures perfectly the motivation and purpose of the Center for Produce Safety. CPS’s singular focus on food safety leverages and coordinates the work we are all doing to keep consumers safe, and is one reason the Northwest Horticultural Council is proud to support CPS. If you agree with that saying ‘many hands make light work’ also applies to food safety, then I urge you to support CPS as well.”

Mark Powers

Northwest Horticultural Council President and CPS board director

Contribution Of Up To

  • Sunview Marketing International
  • 4Earth Farms
  • Amigo Farms
  • Coastline Family Farms, Inc.
  • Food Marketing Institute
  • H-E-B
  • L&M Companies
  • Martori Farms
  • Mission Produce, Inc.
  • National Watermelon Association
  • New York Apple Association
  • Tree Top, Inc.
  • Loblaw Companies Limited
  • California Avocado Commission
  • Michigan Apple Committee
  • Monsanto Company
  • California Pear Advisory Board
  • California Tomato Farmers
  • Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association
  • J&D Produce, Inc.
  • Texas International Produce Association
  • Pennsylvania Apple Marketing Program
  • Giant Eagle
  • Knouse Foods Cooperative, Inc.
  • Pasquinelli Produce Company
  • Procacci Brothers Sales Corp.
  • Duda Farm Fresh Foods, Inc.
  • Santa Rosa Produce
  • Diversified Restaurant Systems, Inc.
  • New York Apple Sales, Inc.
  • Rice Fruit Company
  • California Pepper Association
  • Food Safety News*


Western Growers’ efforts to lead the produce industry in the development and implementation of strong preventive food safety practices rests on the applied research and science developed by the Center for Produce Safety. Preventive practices must be science-based, and applicable in the field and facility. We firmly believe that Western Growers, along with others committed to the safety of fresh produce, must ‘fuel the change’ by funding the science and we are pleased to contribute our time, talent and money to do so.

Tom Nassif

Western Growers President & CEO, CPS contributor and board director

CPS Board of Directors

CPS is largely volunteer-run, with just one full-time paid staff and minimal overhead. Our success is directly attributed to those who have volunteered time and resources to support this organization.

As of June 2019
* denotes Executive Committee members

Dave Corsi, Chair*
Wegmans Food Markets, Inc.

Michael Stuart, Secretary*
Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association

Bob Whitaker, Treasurer*
Produce Marketing Association

Timothy York, Past Chair*
Markon Cooperative

Samir Assar
U.S. Food & Drug Administration

Jimmy Bassetti
J & D Produce

Mark Borman
Taylor Farms California

Tony DiMare*
The DiMare Company

Natalie Dyenson
Dole Food Company, Inc.

Paul Fleming
Produce Industry Consulting

Hank Giclas
Western Growers

Doug Grant
The Oppenheimer Group

Craig Hedberg
University of Minnesota School of Public Health

Steve Kenfield
HMC Farms

Edward Kershaw
Superfresh Growers

Art Liang
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Jim Lugg

Steve Martori III
Martori Farms

Drew McDonald, Technical Committee Chair
Taylor Fresh Foods

Mark Mignogna

Warren Morgan
Double Diamond Fruit

Stephen Patricio*
Westside Produce

Mark Powers
Northwest Horticultural Council

Toby Purse
Lipman Produce

Timothy Riley
The Giumarra Companies

Martha Roberts*
University of Florida

Chuck Ross
University of Vermont Extension

Victor Smith
JV Farms

Michael Spinazzola
DRS Inc.

Thomas Stenzel
United Fresh Produce Association

Tammy Switucha
Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Craig Wilson
Costco Wholesale

“CPS is unique in that in implements a systematic approach to identify, prioritize and fund research that is aimed at informing industry, academia and government efforts to prevent produce safety outbreaks from occurring. CPS is effective because it brings diverse representatives from industry, academia and government together to develop science-based solutions to real-life produce safety problems. CPS is changing the dialogue among industry, academia and government by focusing discussions on produce safety problem-solving through research.”

Samir Assar

Director of FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition’s Division of Produce Safety, and CPS board director

“I volunteer for CPS because food safety is one of the most critical aspects of our businesses today. While there is no real measurement of the ROI of volunteering, because of the leadership it has taken to identify our industry’s most critical food safety needs, CPS has helped educate me on those issues, and it is bringing all levels of the industry together to address them. These relationships are invaluable.”

Tony Dimare

The DiMare Company Vice President and CPS board director

Technical Committee

Our Technical Committee provides the necessary scrutiny and tight controls needed to ensure CPS-funded research projects are practical, measurable and translatable.

As of Dec. 31, 2018

Drew McDonald, Chair
Taylor Fresh Foods

DeAnn Davis
Church Brothers Farms

Suresh DeCosta
Lipman Family Farms

Sharan Lanini
Pacific International Marketing

Jennifer McEntire
United Fresh Produce Association

George Nikolich
Gerawan Farming

Walter Ram
Giumarra Companies

Steve Strub
Wegmans Food Markets

Trevor Suslow
Produce Marketing Association

Monica Bazan
Dole Food Company, Inc.

Jim Brennan
SmartWash Solutions

Donna Lynn Browne
Naturipe Farms LLC

Pascal Delaquis
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Bryan DiMenna

Sammy Duda
Duda Farm Fresh Foods

Jill Dunlop
Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association

Barry Eisenberg
Miles Chemical Corporation

Hank Giclas
Western Growers

Robert Gravani
Cornell University

John Headrick

Lianna Kelly
Markon Cooperative

Jim Lugg

Robert Mandrell

Johnny Massa

Saul Morales

Anne Morrell
Hansen Fruit

Gurmail Mudahar
Tanimura & Antle

Elis Owens

Mickey Parish
U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Courtney Parker
EJ Gallo

Keith Refsnider

Joan Rosen
JC Rosen Resources

Gurjit Shergill

Rusbelina Silva
4Earth Farms

Stacy Stoltenberg

Mike Villaneva
California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement

Rich Walsh

Bob Whitaker
Produce Marketing Association

Devon Zagory
Devon Zagory & Associates, LLC

Mary Zischke
California Leafy Greens Research Program

I cannot recall a time in our lives when fresh produce has been more important. The impact on health, along with on the local farm and labor economies, of plant-forward consumer habits all underline the importance of ensuring we continue to have the safest fresh produce in the world. CPS plays a critical role in this ‘eat more produce’ journey.

Drew McDonald

Taylor Fresh Foods VP of Quality and Food Safety, and chair of CPS’s Technical Committee

Knowledge Transfer Task Force

These influential industry leaders stepped forward in 2018 to help CPS better communicate what we know to industry.

As of Dec. 31, 2018

Doug Grant, Chair
The Oppenheimer Group

Dave Corsi
Wegmans Food Markets

Hank Giclas
Western Growers

Tom Stenzel
United Fresh Produce Association

Bob Whitaker
Produce Marketing Association

Tim York
Markon Cooperative, Inc.

CPS Staff

Bonnie Fernandez-Fenaroli
Executive Director

Each day I come to work and have the privilege to see the passion and compassion that the produce industry and our funded scientists bring to the CPS research table. There is a sincere effort by many to fill our food safety knowledge gaps with science to fuel change.

Bonnie Fernandez-Fenaroli

CPS Executive Director