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    CPS Update

    Julia Stewart:
    Hello, this is PMA PR Director Julia Stewart, and welcome back to PMA’s audio blog, “Ask Dr. Bob” with PMA’s Chief Science Officer Dr. Bob Whitaker. Bob, it’s been a while since we’ve had an update on the Center for Produce Safety, so today you brought with you Bonnie Fernandez-Fenaroli, Executive Director of the CPS to talk with us.

    Bob:
    Julia, CPS has been a significant help in prioritizing research needs, creating partnerships to get the research done, and facilitating an open dialogue between researchers and business. Though only two and a half years old, the center is already generating real-world research answers to pressing industry food safety questions. Bonnie, can you give our listeners an update on what CPS has been up to lately?

    Bonnie:
    Thanks Bob. I’m pleased to say we’ve funded 24 research projects over the past 14 months, with a shared investment amounting to more than $3.8 million. A few of our most notable projects include looking at how pathogens move in field and processing environments, how we can do better co-manage food safety and the environment, and exploring mechanisms for mining some of the private data out there that may allow evaluation of pathogen trends. Your audience can find out more about all the specific projects on our Web site, www.cps.ucdavis.edu.

    Bob:
    This research is done in cooperation with research partners, some even in other parts of the world, right?

    Bonnie:
    Yes, that’s right, Bob. Our accomplishments are the result of our close work with what we call our ‘Partners in Research’, many of whom are U.S. state and national organizations. However, we view our role as a global one, and so we’re also forging relationships with researchers internationally. We currently have two projects with the U.S. Israel Bi-national Agriculture Research and Development program commonly referred to as BARD.

    Bob:
    Now, under its objective of facilitating dialogue, the CPS will hold its First Annual Research Symposium on June 23 at the Mondavi Center on the campus of UC Davis, where I’ll be the moderating the research discussions. Can you tell us more about that?

    Bonnie:
    This symposium is the CPS’s debutante ball, our coming out party – this is where we will publicly debut the results of the research we’ve been working on! This symposium is a forum for scientists to present the results of new food safety research funded by CPS and its partners. It will facilitate an open dialogue among attendees regarding the practical implications and applications of the research. And, it will share information about our mission, partnerships, ongoing research, funding, and our commitment to translating research into ready-to-use, actionable information. We’re expecting about 400 attendees from the United States and around the world.

    Bob:
    That going to be exciting! Our 2009 Fresh Summit attendees got a preview at a standing-room-only workshop you and I did with some of the researchers last October, and it was so well received. Now, is this symposium event strictly for scientists, or who else should attend?

    Bonnie:
    Well, the audience will include scientists as well as the entire produce supply chain from farm to retail – if you have a role in ensuring the safety of fresh produce, this event is relevant to you. During the symposium, researchers will briefly present findings, then an industry panel will talk about what the real-world implications and use of the information is – that dialogue will add tremendous value. The event will show how CPS is delivering on its mission to provide real-world research answers to the industry’s food safety problems.

    Bob:
    For more information on the symposium, our listeners can visit the center’s Web site. PMA is really proud to be a sponsor of this event.

    Bonnie:
    Bob, in addition to your involvement in this symposium, you’ve also been spearheading another significant area for CPS in drafting the RFP’s for our fifth call for research proposals.

    Bob:
    Yes, that’s right Bonnie. We’re working on continuing the valuable research effort that is beginning to bear fruit. Our next RFP will be announced on March 1. Proposals will be due April 30, and the awards will be announced in June. I expect we should have nearly $3 million in new research coming up.

    Julia:
    Thank you, Bob and Bonnie. It’s great to see how your hard work is already starting to yield results. PMA also want to extend a big thank you to our Gold Circle campaign contributors. Their support makes Bob’s work and PMA’s involvement with CPS possible. If any of our listeners want to find out how you can become a Gold Circle contributor, visit www.pma.com/goldcircle.

    Once again, you can find out more about CPS’s work on the industry’s behalf – including finding out how to register for the June 23 symposium - -by visiting CPS’s Web site at www.cps.ucdavis.edu.

    To our audience, thanks for your interest today. Please join us again next time!

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