(June 21) When it comes to politics, there is power in numbers.

And cooperation among those in the produce industry is the only way the industry can muster big numbers and wield much political clout.

That’s why the alliance between the Newark, Del-based Produce Marketing Association and the Washington, D.C.-based United Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Association to forge the Produce Industry Food Safety Initiative is so important.

After all, the Food and Drug Administration is prepared to issue regulations on food safety unless the produce industry demonstrates it can meet governmental expectations for guidelines on the issue.

With the industry’s two biggest trade associations — sometimes allies, sometimes competitors — working together on food safety, the industry stands to gain by ensuring that its voice is heard in the nation’s capital.

And by bringing together association executives, industry leaders, researchers and government officials for a June 9-10 food safety summit in Dallas, United and PMA have clearly demonstrated their leadership.

The joint effort has been rightly praised throughout the industry and has gained the attention of the FDA.

Both are vital to its success.