Dr. Jim Gorny, Produce Marketing Association (PMA) vice president of food safety and technology, has been appointed as chair of the Center for Produce Safety (CPS) Technical Committee by Steve Patricio, chair of the CPS Board of Directors. Gorny will replace Dr. Bob Whitaker, PMA chief science and technology officer, who has chaired the committee since 2008 and will retain his position on CPS’s board.
The transition allows CPS to continue to benefit from Gorny’s extensive knowledge of food safety, while providing Whitaker the opportunity to dedicate more time identifying and translating existing and emerging science and technology into useable industry solutions for PMA members.
“Jim has served as a CPS board and Technical Committee member since our founding, providing CPS an opportunity to tap into his extensive knowledge of food safety, industry practices and produce safety public policy,” said Bonnie Fernandez-Fenaroli, CPS executive director. “He’s certainly no stranger to CPS and food safety and his oversight of the Technical Committee leaves the center and the industry in excellent hands.”
Gorny is an alumnus of the University of California, Davis, and previously served as the executive director of UC Davis’ Postharvest Technology Research and Information Center. Before recently joining PMA, Gorny worked as senior advisor for U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Food Safety where he advised on policies and programs affecting the safety of fresh produce.
“Jim has built a career around pushing the ball forward on produce safety by strongly advocating for and developing science and risk-based food safety industry programs and public policy, a commitment shared by PMA,” said Whitaker. “His transition to Technical Committee chair furthers this goal while also allowing me to dedicate more time to the tremendous work that still needs to be done for PMA members in the vast area of science and technology, which extends beyond food safety to also include such areas as supply chain efficiencies, seed technology, processing and packing innovations, and data management methodologies.”
Whitaker steps away from his chairmanship well accomplished, having helped CPS establish a framework for annual grant-funded research that has resulted to date in CPS’s awarding more than $10.6 million to fund 70 projects at 26 institutions in 17 U.S. states and three countries. The CPS Produce Research Symposium reports annually on the research funded by the center.
“Bob has done a tremendous job not only in helping to get CPS’s research grant program up and running, but also in helping us concentrate our limited resources on research areas needed most,” said Fernandez-Fenaroli.
As Technical Committee chair, Gorny will work extensively with the CPS executive director and the committee to identify, fund, translate and provide industry with high priority, impactful produce safety research solutions that enhance produce safety for industry and consumers alike. The Technical Committee reports to the CPS chair and the board. Because food safety is top priority for PMA members, to date PMA’s contributions to CPS total more than $3 million, and half of Gorny’s time will be dedicated to CPS as Technical Committee chair.
PMA President and CEO Bryan Silbermann added, “PMA’s members are so well served by the unmatched insight and experience brought to food safety by Drs. Bob Whitaker and Jim Gorny on our staff team. Bob has done wonders in his role of CPS Technology Committee chairman and has laid a strong foundation. He’ll remain active on the CPS Board and the Technical Committee. With Jim running the committee, Bob will increase the added value we deliver to our members as translator and educator—a role in which he excels.”