From the Alliance for Food and Farming:Watsonville, CA – The Alliance for Food and Farming (AFF) announced today that Mike Stuart, President of the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association (FFVA), was appointed to serve on the organization’s Management Board at its recent annual meeting in Sacramento, California.
“FFVA has been a strong and consistent supporter of the AFF and we look forward to having Mike’s input and participation as we work to advance the organization’s goals,” says Matt McInerney, Executive Vice President of Western Growers and the AFF’s Board chairman. Stuart joins Markon Cooperative’s President Tim York who was also newly appointed to the AFF Board in 2015.
The AFF works to provide credible food safety information to consumers so that facts, not fear, can guide fruit and vegetable purchasing decisions. In 2010, the AFF launched its Safe Fruits and Veggies initiative with a goal of correcting common misperceptions about pesticide residues and produce safety, which may be undermining efforts to increase consumption and improve diets.
“The work of the AFF on behalf of the produce industry to counter misinformation about our safe and healthy products is important for both consumers as well as the organic and conventional farmers we all proudly represent,” Stuart says. “I hope to use my years of experience in the produce industry to positively influence the AFF organization and help advance the goals of providing science-based, credible food safety information to consumers.”
Stuart has served for more than three decades as an association executive representing growers and shippers in California, Arizona and Florida. He became president of the FFVA in 1992. Stuart currently serves as a co-chairman of the Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance, as a member of the Advisory Board to the Center for Produce Safety, and a member of the Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee (APAC) for Trade, a private sector advisory group to both the Secretary of Agriculture and the United States Trade Representative. He is a past chairman of the Produce for Better Health Foundation, a former director of both the United Fresh Produce Association and the Produce Marketing Association, and a former appointee to the USDA Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee.
The Alliance for Food and Farming’s current membership consists of approximately 50 associations, commodity boards and individual grower-shippers of fruits and vegetables from throughout the U.S. Alliance activities are funded by voluntary contributions from its members. Membership in the Alliance is limited to farmers or companies who grow, sell, ship or market fruits and vegetables and to associations who represent these farmers and companies.
Recently, the Alliance for Food and Farming released the results of a five-year analysis of media coverage of the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) annual release of its “dirty dozen” list, which had become one of the main sources of misinformation about produce safety targeted toward consumers. This analysis showed AFF efforts to counter this misinformation resulted in EWG’s once dominant one-sided media coverage to decline by more than half (99.8% down to 48%). Further, the analysis showed the AFF began enjoying its own “one-sided” stories with almost 30% of total “dirty dozen” media coverage reflecting AFF science and information only at one point during the campaign. While balance has increased, overall media coverage and consumer reach of the “dirty dozen” list has also declined dramatically since the AFF launched its initiative in 2010 reaching an all time low in 2015.
“Over the last five years, the AFF has provided so much information to consumers about the safety of all produce – organic and conventional – and we are seeing the positive results of that science-based approach,” Stuart says. “I look forward to joining my colleagues on the AFF Board as we continue to advance the organization’s objectives and positively influence consumption of these healthy products.”
To learn more about the science-based food safety information available from the AFF visit safefruitsandveggies.com. For more information about the AFF, please visit the organization’s membership website at www.foodandfarming.info.