Taylor Farms of Salinas, Calif. has announced a $2 million pledge to the recently announced Center for Produce Safety to be housed at the University of California, Davis’ Western Institute for Food Safety and Security (WIFSS).

Taylor Farms will also provide $1 million in research already planned by the company.

Bruce Taylor, chairman and chief executive officer of Taylor Farms, called the contribution an investment in the company and the produce industry.

“I encourage my colleagues across the entire supply chain to contribute at whatever level possible to ensure that the Center for Produce Safety is able to advance an aggressive research agenda that provides produce companies with the guidance needed to further enhance food safety efforts,” Taylor said.

Other recent cash and in-kind contributions to the Center include $2 million from the Produce Marketing Association, $500,000 from the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), $200,000 from Western Growers, and $150,000 from the University of California’s Agriculture and Natural Resources Division, and

CDFA Secretary A.G. Kawamura said, “The Center for Produce Safety will lose no time putting together an aggressive research, training, and outreach agenda into how and when food-borne illnesses arise in produce, and actions that can be taken to reduce these risks.

The WIFSS was founded in 2002 by the UC Davis' School of Veterinary Medicine, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, and School of Medicine, in partnership with the CDFA and the Department of Health Services.

Rob Atwill, a veterinarian and medical ecologist, is the WIFSS’ interim director. He is the principal investigator in a four-year U.S. Department of Agriculture study on tracing the sources of E. coli O157:H7 in the Salinas Valley.

email: cblake@farmpress.com