In the midst of the outbreaks of the past six weeks, the industry has hard evidence of how truly brilliant has been its leadership. Just a few of the industry leaders were recognized by the Pundit as Single Step Award recipeints after the Spinach crisis:
In addition, many of the executives of our associations stepped up to the task. Some of the most notable, in alphabetical order:
Scott Horsfall, CEO California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement
Tom Nassif, President and CEO Western Growers Association
Bryan Silbermann, President Produce Marketing Association
Tom Stenzel, President and CEO United Fresh Produce Association
Plus all the leaders that created and joined the Leafy Greens Agreements in both California and Arizona:
Abbate Farms, Merced
Agro Jal Farms Inc, Santa Maria
Amazing Coachella Inc/DBA Peter Rabbit Farms, Coachella
Amigo Farms Inc, Yuma
Andrew Smith Co, Spreckels
Anthony Costa and Sons, Soledad
Apio Inc, Guadalupe
Babé Farms Inc, Santa Maria
Badlands / El Don, Brawley
Baloian Packing Co Inc, Fresno
Beachside Produce LLC, Guadalupe
Bengard Ranch Inc, Salinas
Big E Produce, Lompoc
Blanton Produce Co, Salinas
Bonipak Produce Co, Santa Maria
Boskovich Farms, Oxnard
C and E Farms Inc, Salinas
Cal Cel Marketing Inc, Oxnard
Channel Islands Farm, Inc, Oxnard
Chieftain Harvesting Inc, Salinas
Church Bros LLC, Salinas
Classic Salads LLC, Salinas
Coastline / Sunridge Farms Inc, Salinas
Crystal Organic/Grimmway Farms, Bakersfield
D’Arrigo Bros. Co. of CA, Salinas
Deardorff Family Farms, Oxnard
Diamond Produce Co, Salinas
Direct Advantage LLC, Santa Maria
Dole Fresh Vegetables, Salinas
Double D Farms, Coalinga
Duda Farm Fresh Foods Inc-Cal, Salinas
Dynasty Farms Inc, Salinas
Earthbound Farm, San Juan Bautista
Epic Roots, Salinas
Ernie Strahm & Sons, Inc — Holtville
Faurot Ranch LLC, Watsonville
Field Fresh Farms, Watsonville
Fisher Ranch Corportation, Blythe
Fresh Choice Marketing Inc, Oxnard
Fresh Express Inc, Salinas
Fresh Kist, Nipomo
Fresh Origins LLC, San Marcos
Frisco Farms LLC, Spreckels
George Amaral Ranches Inc, Gonzales
Gold Coast Packing Co, Santa Maria
Greengate Fresh LLLP, Salinas
Growers Express LLC, Salinas
Home Grown Organic Farms, Porterville
Ippolito International, Salinas
Jayleaf LLC , Hollister
Joe Heger Farms LLC, El Centro
John S Tamagni and Sons, Inc, Spreckels
Kawaguchi Farms, Arroyo Grande
Keber Distributing, Thermal
Kenter Canyon Farms, Sun Valley
Lakeside Organic Gardens LLC, Watsonville
Mann Packing Co Inc, Salinas
Metz Fresh LLC, King City
Misionero Vegetables, Salinas
Muranaka Farms, Moorpark
Nava Enterprise Inc, Oxnard
New Star Fresh Foods LLC |
North Country Produce, Paso Robles
Ocean Mist Farms, Castroville
Pablo’s Produce, Oxnard
Pacific Coast Produce, Santa Maria
Pacific Fresh Produce Inc, Oxnard
Pacific International Marketing, Salinas
Pacific Marketing Co, Salinas
Pacific Pride Marketing LLC, Oxnard
Pajaro Valley Fresh Fruit And Veg Dist, Watsonville
Pismo Oceano Vegetable Exch, Oceano
Premium Valley Produce, Inc, Scottsdale
Pride of San Juan, San Juan Bautista
Pure Pacific Organics, Salinas
Purepak Inc / Pacific Ridge Farms LLC, Oxnard
Ratto Bros Inc, Modesto
Ready Pac Produce Inc, Duarte
Reliable Produce Sourcing LLC, Santa Maria
River Ranch Fresh Food LLC, Salinas
Royal Rose LLC / European Vegetable Specialties, Salinas
Salad Savoy Corp, Salinas
San Cristobal Distributing Inc, Oxnard
San Miguel Produce, Oxnard
Santa Barbara Farms Packing, Lompoc
Scarborough Farms Inc, Oxnard
Seaboard Produce/Variety Marketing, Oxnard
Silva Farms, Gonzales
Steinbeck Country Produce, Spreckels
Sun Terra Produce Traders Inc, Newport Beach
Sunamerica Produce, Salinas
Sunfresh USA Inc, Santa Paula
Sunsation Farms Inc, Monterey
Talley Farms Inc, Arroyo Grande
Tanimura And Antle Fresh Foods, Inc, Salinas
Taylor Farms, Salinas
The Nunes Co Inc, Salinas
The Salad Farm LLC, Salinas
True Leaf Farms, Salinas
Vessey And Company Inc, Holtville
Watsonville Produce Inc, Moss Landing
William Consalo and Sons, Bakersfield
Amigo Farms Inc.
Andrew Smith Co.
Bonipak Produce Co.
Church Brothers LLC.
D’Arrigo Brothers Company of California
Dole Fresh Vegetables
Duda Farm Fresh Foods
Everkrisp Vegetables, Inc.
Five Crowns Marketing
Growers Express LLC
Ippolito International, LP
Mann Packing Co. Inc.
Metz Fresh, LLC
Mills Family Farms
Misionero (Griffin Produce Co)
Natural Selection Foods LLC.
New Star Foods, LLC
Nunes Co. Inc.
Ocean Mist Farms
Pacific International Marketing
Pure Pacific Organics LLC
Rousseau Farming Co.
Salyer American Fresh Foods
Steinbeck Country Produce
Sundridge Farms Inc.
Tanimura & Antle
Taylor Farms California, Inc.
True Leaf Farms LLC.
The truth is there is little about the Freshway Foods Romaine recall that was different from what happened at Natural Selection Foods that led to the great spinach crisis of 2006.
The big difference is that the FDA has responded differently.
That is not an accident.
Although some of the credit goes to the FDA in that they were looking to avoid a repeat of those industry-wide catastrophes they created with their “recommendations not to consume,” a big chunk of the credit goes to the produce industry leadership recognizing that the key issue was that FDA had no faith in the trade.
The California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement, the sister agreement in Arizona, the launch of the Center For Produce Safety and, yes, even the controversial Produce Traceability Initiative are best seen as a massive, almost four-year-long effort to build up the confidence of regulatory bodies, especially the FDA.
The relatively moderate reaction of the FDA, confining its request for recalls to the companies involved, is testimony to incredibly visionary leadership that planned and executed a brilliant plan.
Applause is more than merited.