your-news image
The California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement presented produce buyer Tim York with its Golden Checkmark Award for his role in initiating a companywide policy at Markon Cooperative Inc. to accept the LGMA mandatory government inspection as the only required audit for its leafy greens suppliers.

According to an Oct. 4 LGMA press release, in a special presentation during the Sunday morning general session of the Produce Marketing Association's Fresh Summit in Anaheim, CA, LGMA board Chairman Joe Pezzini presented the award to Mr. York, who is president of Markon Cooperative Inc., a produce procurement operation based in Salinas, CA, with members throughout North America.

"The LGMA thanks you for the support and leadership you and Markon have shown by accepting the LGMA government audit as the only farm audit required of your leafy greens suppliers," Mr. Pezzini said as he presented Mr. York with the award, a large gold-colored checkmark. "This award has only been given to two people: yourself and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was instrumental in establishing the LGMA."

Mr. York has been vocal in encouraging the produce industry -- and the leafy greens industry in particular -- to develop food-safety systems that are specific, measurable and verifiable as a means of protecting public health.

The LGMA, created in 2007, is a mechanism for verifying that leafy greens farmers follow established science-based food-safety standards through regular, random and mandatory audits conducted by U.S. Department of Agriculture-trained government inspectors. The program represents an unprecedented commitment to public health and has become a model for food-safety programs in other states and for other commodities.

In accepting the award, Mr. York said, "I've found the LGMA audit program to be the most rigorous in the industry. It's the only audit Markon requires of our leafy greens suppliers and is the only audit a produce buyer needs." Mr. York encouraged other produce buyers to take a closer look at the LGMA and take action to accept the LGMA audits as well.

Mr. York has 30 years experience in the produce and foodservice industries. He began his career in 1977 at H. Hall & Co., a grower-shipper of strawberries and mixed vegetables. He joined Markon in 1985 as purchasing director and was promoted to executive vice president in 1990 and to his current position of president in 1997.

The award presentation for Mr. York followed a short video highlighting the achievements of the LGMA that explained the extensive training of inspectors who conduct comprehensive field audits that require 100 percent compliance with all LGMA standards.