(May 19) Some corporate — and produce — heavyweights have signed on to help the nonprofit Partnership for Food Safety Education spread its message.

“We believe that everyone involved in the handling of food needs to make food safety a top priority,” said Bruce Peterson, senior vice president of perishables for Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Bentonville, Ark.

Peterson is the chairman of the Partnership for Food Safety Education’s corporate advisory committee, which met for the first time May 16 in Washington, D.C.

Ivan Velez, director of technical services for Dole Fresh Fruit Co., Westlake Village, Calif., also is a member of the committee. Other food-related companies represented on the committee:

  • Dallas-based restaurant chain Brinker International;

  • Cargill Inc., Minneapolis;

  • Giant Food Stores Inc. Carlisle, Pa.;

  • Stop & Shop Cos. Inc., Boston;

  • SuperValu, Eden Prairie, Minn.;

  • Sara Lee Food & Beverage, Downers Grove, Ill.;

  • Tyson Foods Inc., Springdale, Ark.; and

  • Supermarketguru.com.

Clorox Co., the Oakland, Calif.-based maker of household cleaners, also will participate along with public relations firm Porter Novelli.

“It’s a concerted effort to bring together representatives of the entire food chain and leverage the message of the partnership,” said Bryan Silbermann, president of the Newark, Del.-based Produce Marketing Association and chairman elect of the food safety organization.

Silbermann said the committee would meet in person twice a year and would have additional meetings via conference calls. Peterson said the committee would “offer practical applications to the programs that the board of directors are considering and offer suggestions towards the creation of new programs.”

Partnership for Food Safety Education is a collaborative effort of four U.S. government agencies and about 20 trade and consumer associations — including PMA, the Washington, D.C.-based United Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Association and Alexandria, Va.-based International Fresh-cut Produce Association — to educate consumers about mitigating foodborne illnesses.