Atlanta-based Georgia-Pacific has donated $250,000 to fund research through the Center for Produce Safety.

“As a packaging supplier for the produce industry and other food companies, food safety is important to us as well,” Georgia-Pacific Packaging president Carl Marhaver said April 3 in a news release. “Georgia-Pacific Packaging applauds the work being done through the Center to promote and develop safer standards while seeking knowledge through collaborative research.”

The donation will support competitive research grant programs at the University of California, Davis-based Center.

“It’s the largest ever donation in support of research from a supplier to the industry, said Bonnie Fernandez-Fenaroli, executive director of the Center. “We’ve had other industry providers, but noone else that supplies the industry has given a gift of that size before.”

In three years, the Center for Produce Safety has awarded nearly $9 million and funded 58 one- and two-year research projects at 19 universities and other organizations.

This year an added $3 million is available to fund projects to be evaluated through the Center’s request for proposals.

“We are honored that Georgia-Pacific has confidence in our programs, and we commend them for their leadership in encouraging other suppliers to join the effort to bring the most current produce safety science into use,” Stephen Patricio, chair of the Center’s advisory board, said in the release. “It takes innovative collaborations like this to engage the entire produce supply chain to invest in food safety.”

Research proposals for the current cycle were due March 30.

“We’re in the process now of assigning reviewers,” Fernandez-Fenaroli said. “We’ll review them for the next month or so, get together to prioritize and hopefully by late summer we can announce them all.”