ATLANTA — The California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement is recognizing two individuals for their work in promoting mandatory government inspection of food safety practices in the produce industry.
At the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit 2011 expo, LGMA gave Golden Checkmark awards to Bill Pool, manager of agricultural production and research for Wegman’s Food Markets Inc., Rochester, N.Y., and Mike Spinazzola, president of DRS Inc., San Diego, which procures produce for Subway restaurants.
“These two recipients are industry leaders in the field of food safety, each working to protect public health by maintaining the highest food safety standards for their companies,” Scott Horsfall, LGMA’s chief executive officer, said in a news release. “They are exceptional examples of representatives from firms who have committed to accept the LGMA’s mandatory government audits as the only third-party inspection required of their leafy greens suppliers.”
During the presentation at an Oct. 16 general session, Spinazzola gave credit to his colleagues.
“I want to thank Subway for putting together a very strong program that supported us,” he said. “The strong supplier and grower networks that we have helps in our drive to protect our brand. This is a testament to all the hard work we involved in the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement are doing.”
Pool was not in attendance to receive the award.
LGMA calls Wegmans a longtime supporter of its efforts and LGMA officials say the chain does not require additional food safety audits beyond the group’s rigorous system of government inspections.
LGMA credits Spinazzola for being instrumental in steering Subway to policies that support U.S. Department of Agriculture audits as its preferred means for inspecting produce farming operations. DRS accepts LGMA’s mandatory government audit as the only one it requires of its leafy green suppliers, according to the release.
In a video during the award presentation, two leafy greens growers thanked Pool and Spinazzola for their support of LGMA’s programs and for acknowledging what leafy greens growers do to protect their crop. View the videos at www.lgma.ca.gov/blog.