Kinsey Porter of North Bay Produce in Traverse City, Mich., is one of 15 fellows recently named by the Fresh Produce Association to the inaugural class of the Produce Safety Immersion Program, which is sponsored by Renaissance Food Group at the gold level and Ecolab as a silver sponsor.
The fellows will begin their journey at United Fresh’s FreshStart Conference on Jan. 14-16 in Tucson, Ariz.
“We’re thrilled to welcome the first class of the Produce Safety Immersion Program as they begin their journey as produce safety professionals,” says Dr. Jennifer McEntire, vice president of food safety at United Fresh. “Through a variety of unique experiences over the course of , the class will work hard to build their technical capacity, critical-thinking skills and leadership attributes.”
The program is comprised of three face-to-face meetings and trainings, tailored webinars, and ongoing mentorship. Five highly-skilled produce safety professionals will serve as mentors to the program fellows and will accompany them at each meeting, including:
- 2020 FreshStart Conference, Jan 14-16 in Tucson, Ariz.
- United Fresh 2020 Convention & Expo, June 16-19 in San Diego
- 2020 United Fresh Washington Conference, Sept. 21-23, Washington, D.C.
Professionals with less than five years of experience in produce safety were evaluated by members of the United Fresh Food Safety Council steering committee based on their backgrounds, roles in the industry, career aspirations and recommendations. These budding produce safety professionals will be coached by the following mentors:
- Donna Lynn Browne, director of food safety & social responsibility, Naturipe Farms
- De Ann Davis, food safety director, Commercial Food Sanitation
- Suresh DeCosta, director of food safety, North America and Latin America, Lipman Family Farms
- Cheryl Enlow, vice president of quality assurance & food safety, Renaissance Food Group
- Walter Ram, vice president of food safety, Guimarra Companies
“Ongoing professional development is especially crucial in produce safety, as ensuring consumers can safely consume such healthy products requires knowledge of a wide variety of processes and regulations,” Browne says. “United Fresh has always been on the forefront of all things food safety in produce, and this program is yet another great tool for the industry.”
Several United Fresh member companies — including 3M, Braga Family Farms, Ecolab, Heinzen Manufacturing, Merieux Nutrisciences, and Naturipe Farms — are supporting the program by hosting the class throughout the year. For information about the program, contact Katie McGowan, United Fresh food safety coordinator, at 202-303-3402 or email@example.com.