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SALINAS, Calif. - In an unprecedented move, Fresh Express based here has committed up to $2 million to fund a rigorous, multidisciplinary research effort to help the fresh-cut produce industry prevent foodborne contamination.
Although no Fresh Express product has ever been linked an outbreak of food-borne illness, the company said it is footing the bill on behalf of both the industry and consumers in order to conduct an in-depth study of the deadly E. coli 0157:H7 pathogen that has caused numerous outbreaks over the past decade, including the recent occurrence related to fresh spinach.
"At Fresh Express, food safety has been and will always be our No. 1 priority in every phase of our operations," said Tanios Viviani, president of Fresh Express.
Viviani said Fresh Express is hopeful that the research "will yield new knowledge, practices and technologies that the entire fresh-cut produce industry can use to provide consumers with ready-to-eat produce that is consistently safe and healthy."