Joe Pezzini elected as new CPS chair as it seeks to “fund science, find solutions and fuel change in fresh produce food safety”

In the US, the Center for Produce Safety (CPS) has elected Joe Pezzini as its new chair, along with a number of new board directors and officers.

Joe Pezzini Center for Produce Safety US

Joe Pezzini

Pezzini, senior director of agricultural operations for Taylor Farms, was elected chair on 23 June at the CPS board directors’ annual business meeting.

The 28-member board also welcomed six returning members and one new one, elected other officers for 2022-2024, and recognised several longtime volunteer leaders who retired from the group.

Six board members agreed to serve additional three-year terms, including Jim Brennan (SmartWash Solutions), Mike Joyner (Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association), Dave Murray (Andrew & Williamson/Good Farms), Mark Mignogna (Sysco), Victor Smith (J.V. Smith Farms) and Craig Wilson (Costco Wholesale).

Joining the CPS Board of Directors for the first time is Amy Gates, vice president of Seald Sweet/Greenyard USA.

Elected officers for 2022-2024 are Pezzini, Bret Erickson of Little Bear Produce as secretary and Mark Powers of Northwest Horticultural Council as treasurer.

CPS thanked four retiring board members and volunteer leaders for their service to the organisation, including Dave Corsi, Doug Grant, Tom Stenzel and Paul Fleming.

Pezzini said his first priority as CPS board chair will be to guide the board’s update of its strategic plan.

“In 15 short years, Center for Produce Safety has grown into an extraordinary melting pot of industry, research, regulatory and public health leaders who are doing much more together to advance fresh produce food safety than we ever could alone,” he said.

“Our goal for the next five years will be to continue that positive trajectory. That means making sure that CPS can continue to innovate in how we fund science, find solutions and fuel change in produce safety.”

Pezzini underscored that produce safety wasn’t just a professional goal – it was personal to the fresh produce industry, and so Center for Produce Safety’s work should centre on meeting the needs of a diverse fresh-produce supply chain.

“The food we grow and sell to consumers is the same food we take home to our families,” he added. ”Our work doesn’t get more personal than that.

”Food safety should be the number one thing we do. Center for Produce Safety helps us get there.”