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The Center for Produce Safety's advisory board convened June 27 with a key order of business to welcome new board leadership as well as recognize departing board members for their service.

CPS announced that produce industry veteran Stephen Patricio, president of Westside Produce, has assumed the chairmanship of the center’s advisory board, replacing Tim York, president of Markon Cooperative, who held the position since the center was founded in 2007.

Mr. 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," Mr. Patricio said in his welcome letter to attendees of CPS's June 28 Produce Research Symposium in Orlando, FL.

Explaining why it is important to continue to expand the center's work, Mr. Patricio wrote, "As a long-time industry volunteer leader, I know it will take us all, working together, to best those threats."

"The collaboration, cooperation and results are unprecedented," Mr. 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, senior vice president of consumer affairs at Wegmans Food Markets, who replaces retiring board member Bill Pool, project manager of produce food safety at Wegmans. Mr. Pool will join the CPS Technical Committee, which directs the center’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 & Agriculture, and Belinda Morris, California regional director of the Environmental Defense Fund's Center for Conservation Incentives. Mr. 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. Ms. Filice along with Messrs. Breitmeyer, 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," CPS Executive Director Bonnie Fernandez-Fenaroli said in a July 8 press release. "We thank them for their time, effort and support of our work on the industry's behalf."