Cheryl Enlow ( File photo )

The Renaissance Food Group is sponsoring a new United Fresh Produce Association’s year-long food safety program designed for young industry members.

The United Fresh Produce Safety Immersion Program’s aim is to build the technical capacity, critical thinking skills and leadership attributes for the next generation of produce safety professionals, according to a news release.

Throughout the year, participants will have three face-to-face meetings/training sessions, complete three web seminars and benefit from an ongoing mentoring program with industry professionals. The focus is on early- to mid-career members of the industry with less than five years of experience in food safety.

“The importance of produce safety, coupled with emerging science and technology and changes in the regulatory and legal environment, have created a real need for ongoing professional development,” Cheryl Enlow, vice president of quality assurance & food safety for the Renaissance Food Group (RFG), and chairwoman of the United Fresh Food Safety Council, said in the release. “We are proud to sponsor this new program and play a role in shaping the future of produce safety professionals.”

The program is limited to 20 participants, who will work with four industry mentors whose work involves food safety.

“I’m proud of the robust portfolio of produce safety trainings, webinars, and resources that United Fresh provides,” Jennifer McEntire, vice president of food safety at United Fresh, said in the release. “We are building upon that foundation to give a select group of promising produce safety professionals the benefit of in-depth experiential learning, coupled with the support of the best and brightest mentors in the industry.”

Members in the program will attend three of the association’s events: FreshStart Conference, United Fresh Convention & Expo, and the United Fresh Washington Conference.

Applications, which can be made online at the United Fresh website, are due Nov. 1.

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United Fresh has year-long food safety program