With members and operators, we’re consistently reminding them of the role they play as well as the end result: protecting people.
Safe produce starts in the field, but ends on the plate. All points along the way need to have the shared commitment to food safety, with the moral imperative as our guiding principle.
For foodservice operators and buyers, walking the talk means thinking beyond price, and evaluating suppliers from multiple perspectives — and food safety should be high on the list.
Some may say food safety is important, but they don’t look at food safety as a true differentiator on purchases.
If buyers evaluate lettuce, for example, purely on price per head, while ignoring food safety and sustainability metrics, they are missing the boat.
To this day, I think about Dana often. Everyone at Markon knows her story, and she serves as constant reminder of why we do what we do.
We, and others in the industry, must not forget what happened to her, and, more importantly, we need to do our best to prevent other tragedies stemming from foodborne illnesses.
This means remembering food safety is about people, and creating a culture within organizations that not only keeps this top of mind, but also puts in place practices, policies and procedures that support this notion.
Tim York is chief executive officer of Markon Cooperative, Salinas, Calif., which is made up of eight North American foodservice distributors. He is also the founding chairman of the Center for Produce Safety at the University of California-Davis.
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