A group of retail and foodservice buyers will address food safety for smaller growers at the United Fresh Produce Association’s Washington Public Policy Conference.

Retail, foodservice buyers to talk food safety at WPPC

A Sept. 15 session, “The Role of Buyers in Assuring Small Farm Food Safety,” will explore the role retailers and foodservice companies play in assuring small operations and seasonal farms meet the same food safety and quality standards required of large commercial growers.

The panel, to be moderated by Mitch Smith, director of U.S. quality systems, agricultural products for McDonald’s USA, Oakbrook, Ill., includes Kent Killebrew, quality assurance manager for Ahold USA’s corporate brands’ fresh products operation; Hal King, senior manager of food and product safety at Chick-fil-A Inc., Atlanta; New Jersey Assistant Secretary of Agriculture Al Murray; and Michael Jantschke, director of food safety for Pro*Act, Monterey, Calif.

“More than ever, today’s retailers and foodservice operators rely on a wide variety of sources large and small for a constant, year-round supply of fresh produce,” Tom Stenzel, United Fresh’s president and chief executive officer, said in a news release. “This session is designed to help those buyers better understand how to assure that their product is safe, no matter its source.”

Other speakers at the conference include U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and political strategist Frank Luntz.

During the conference’s yearly March on Capitol Hill, the conference gives produce industry leaders time to personally meet lawmakers and their staffs, discuss food safety policies with Food and Drug Administration officials, listen to cabinet officials and talk with President Obama’s executive staff.