Patricio said he finds great satisfaction in the fact that California growers voted unanimously this year to establish a marketing order requiring food safety measures.
He said he found similar satisfaction in 2006-07, when he was chairman of the board for Western Growers. It was one of the most turbulent eras in the association’s history. A spinach-related salmonella outbreak in 2006 left the industry reeling.
Tom Nassif, president of the association then and now, said Patricio’s leadership and commitment to food safety was key to the establishment of the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement, which is now heralded as a blueprint for food safety programs.
“A lot of our California producers felt it would put them at an economic disadvantage because of the costs involved. They thought buyers would go elsewhere rather than pay more,” Nassif said.
“Steve convinced them that it was the right thing to do and that retailers would demand that suppliers be signatories to the LGMA. And that’s what happened.
“If I ever had to go anywhere to sell and idea or a concept to anyone — from legislators to growers — there’s no one I’d rather have at my side than Steve.”