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Patricio succeeds York as chair.

July 8, 2011
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The Center for Produce Safety's Advisory Board convened on June 27, with a key order of business to welcome new board leadership as well as recognize departing board members for their service.

CPS is pleased to announce produce industry veteran Stephen Patricio, president of Westside Produce, as its next Advisory Board chairman. Patricio plans to focus his tenure on expanding the center's partnerships to include more commodity sectors and across borders.

"As a grower and packer, I know food safety threats don't care about our company size, where we tend our crops, what we pack, or where we display and serve," Patricio said in his welcome letter to attendees of CPS's June 28 Produce Research Symposium. Explaining why it is important to continue to expand the center's work, he wrote, "As a long-time industry volunteer leader, I know it will take us all, working together, to best those threats."

Patricio assumed the chairmanship from retiring Chairman Tim York, president of Markon Cooperative. York chaired the CPS Advisory Board since the center was founded in 2007.

"The collaboration, cooperation and results are unprecedented," York wrote of CPS's successes during his service. "It took dedicated partners to get this far, and I'm proud to have served as the first CPS Advisory Board chair... With such a strong community, I have great expectations for the center's next four years."

Joining the CPS board is Mary Ellen Burris, Wegmans Food Markets' senior vice president of consumer affairs. Burris replaces retiring board member Bill Pool, Wegmans Food Markets' project manager of produce food safety. Pool joins the CPS Technical Committee, which directs CPS's research program. Also joining the CPS Advisory Board will be Nate Dechoretz, deputy secretary of administration and finance for the California Department of Food and Agriculture, and Belinda Morris, California regional director of the Environmental Defense Fund's Center for Conservation Incentives. Dechoretz will be replacing Richard Breitmeyer, former California state veterinarian and current director of the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory System at UC Davis. Morris will be replacing Eric Holst, manager of the Center for Conservation Incentives. Kay Filice, president and owner of Filice Farms, is retiring from the CPS Advisory Board. Breitmeyer, Filice, Holst and Pool had served on the board since its creation in 2007.

"Tim, Richard, Kay, Eric and Bill's commitment to the produce industry and on the issue of fresh produce safety was very clear in their service on the CPS board," said CPS Executive Director Bonnie Fernandez-Fenaroli. "We thank them for their time, effort and support of our work on the industry's behalf."

Board members also received reports on work in CPS's priority areas of research sponsorship, becoming a repository for global research, and providing communication, outreach and training for the industry, research and regulatory communities. The board met in Orlando, Fla., USA, the day before the center's second annual Produce Research Symposium got underway to report on and discuss findings of dozens of produce-specific food safety research projects to a capacity crowd of 250 attendees.

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