Tim York, president of Salinas-based Markon Cooperative, has been named board chairman of The Center for Produce Safety at UC Davis. With 30 industry, academic, and regulatory members named to the advisory board of the center, UC Davis is poised to further advance its research and education partnerships on foodborne illnesses such as E. coli.

“Tim York’s leadership on the advisory board will allow UC Davis, other research centers, the produce industry, and regulatory agencies to work together to establish the critical scientific foundation for ‘best practices’ that provide a safe food supply for the public,” said Devon Zagory, interim executive director of the Center for Produce Safety.

“The Center for Produce Safety is a critical step forward for the produce industry,” York said. “The center’s mission is to provide ready-to-use, science-based solutions that prevent or minimize produce-safety vulnerabilities. I am pleased to have been asked to serve the industry in this capacity.”

Markon Cooperative Inc., based in Salinas, Calif., is a leader in procuring fresh fruits, vegetables, and juices for food companies throughout North America. Under York’s leadership, Markon has long been a leader in food safety, quality control, and innovation. York formerly served as chair of the national Produce Marketing Association’s board of directors and served on the U.S. Department of Agriculture Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee.

At the Center for Produce Safety’s first advisory board meeting, Zagory and York worked with board members to establish priorities for the center, such as developing university and produce-industry partnerships, assimilating research data on produce safety, and establishing an ongoing research program.

The Center for Produce Safety (www.cps.ucdavis.edu) works closely with the Western Institute for Food Safety and Security (www.wifss.ucdavis.edu), also based at UC Davis, to address numerous food safety issues, including foodborne illnesses. The center was established in 2007, and will appoint its permanent executive director in February 2008.