"Fresh fruits and vegetables are good for us; we should eat more," say Dr. Douglas Powell and Ben Chapman of the FoodSafety Network. Yet, they also remind us that fresh fruits and vegetables are one of, if not the most, significant source of foodborne illness today in North America, with an estimated 76 million illness and 5,000 deaths in the U.S. each and every year.

In the past 10 years the FoodSafety Network has worked with individual farmers and grower groups dedicated to producing safe produce by helping them to provide the data to support their claims of safety.

Dr. Douglas Powell is scientific director of the Food Safety Network at Kansas State University and Ben Chapman is a PhD student at the University of Guelph in Canada. They are the authors of, most recently, a book chapter entitled Implementing On-Farm Food Safety Programs in Fruit and Vegetable Cultivation, in the recently published Improving the Safety of Fresh Fruit and Vegetables.

They urge produce growers and processors to take food safety seriously for the health of consumers, if they are to remain in the industry.