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DAVIS, CA -- Four private companies and two commodity groups chose Fresh Summit to announce their pledges to the Center for Produce Safety Campaign for Research. This funding will support CPS's competitive research grant programs, according to an Oct. 19 press release. Taylor Farms helped jumpstart the CPS research program in 2008 with a $2 million contribution. Taylor Farms will contribute an additional $250,000 to support CPS research, joined by Driscoll's, Markon Cooperative and Tanimura & Antle, each pledging $100,000.

New contributions to the CPS Partners in Research program were also announced. This program is designed for organizations to provide matching funds for commodity-specific research. Bart Fisher, a member of the California Melon Research Board and the California Cantaloupe Advisory Board, announced the Partners in Research contribution of $200,000. Mr. Fisher stated, "Commodity programs have a history of funding research. We know the benefit of collaborations and look forward to continued collaborations with our customers to provide safe produce."

Bryan Silbermann, Produce Marketing Association president, announced the donations during his state-of-the-industry address. Mr. Silbermann noted, "CPS's first four years have been filled with remarkable accomplishments: collaborative work by government, industry and academia to define produce-safety research priorities; targeted and actionable research aimed at finding answers to thorny questions; and communication back to industry to drive adoption of best practices. That's why PMA is proud to have invested over $2.5 million of its members' cash and millions more in staff time and expertise to underwrite the ongoing costs of the center's operation. Today, we're proud to stand alongside these other leading organizations now committing themselves to ensure a sustainable financial model for the essential research and education that still lies ahead."

Since the industry-wide Campaign for Research began with the Wegman Family Charitable Foundation's $250,000 donation at the CPS Produce Research Symposium in Orlando, FL, $1 million has been pledged for new research. "The significance of combining talents from multiple companies throughout the marketing chain to collaborate on research at CPS alongside the academic and regulatory agencies is enormous," stated CPS Chairman Steve Patricio. "It is collaboration that is our industry's strength as we seek answers to produce-safety questions."