(Jan. 25) The Center for Produce Safety at the University of California-Davis will soon have a full-time director.

Tim York, chairman of the center’s advisory board, declined to reveal the identity of the new director Jan. 23 but said the organization plans to introduce its new leader the week of Jan. 28.

Devon Zagory, founder of NSF Davis Fresh, has been serving as the center’s interim director since October. Zagory said he will continue in that role through February, and the new director is expected to start March 1.

Zagory, who sold his interest in Davis Fresh Technologies to NSF International, Ann Arbor, Mich., in 2006, said he is under contract to consult with NSF though the end of the year.

The Center for Produce Safety was started in April 2007 in the wake of foodborne illness outbreaks. The Newark, Del.-based Produce Marketing Association and Taylor Farms LLC, Salinas, Calif., pledged $2 million each to get things started along with commitments from Irvine, Calif.-based Western Growers, the California Farm Bureau Federation, the University of California and the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

York, president of Markon Cooperative Inc., Salinas, and a member of PMA’s board of directors, was named chairman of the center’s 30-member advisory council in November. He said the center worked with an executive search firm to identify candidates for the director’s position.

He said five members of the advisory committee and UC-Davis staff members formed the search committee for the director, who will be a UC-Davis employee.

York said he expects to serve a two-year term as chairman. He said his responsibilities will include convening meetings, prioritizing agendas, holding the director accountable for progress and “making sure we stay on course.”

York said one the new director’s first priorities will be to form committees for fundraising, technology and communication and outreach. He said those committees likely will include advisory board members but will not be limited to that group.

For a complete list of the center’s advisory board members, go to www.cps.ucdavis.edu/cps/cps/board/members.pdf.