For Immediate Release: March 19, 2020
The Colorado Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association (CFVGA) and its grower members are very concerned about the impact COVID-19 is having on Coloradans’ physical, economic and social health.
“We join authorities in urging Coloradans to comply with safety guidelines laid out by our state and to be considerate of others by doing what we can to keep ourselves and others safe from the virus,” said CFVGA President Robert Sakata, Sakata Farms, Brighton.
Sakata added that CFVGA is urging growers to continue to implement their high level of worker health measures when retailing their produce to reduce human transmission of COVID-19. He also notes that currently there is no evidence that food or food packaging is associated with transmission of COVID-19. “Fortunately, produce growers already implemented very high standards of safety as laid out in the Food Modernization Act, implemented several years ago. CFVGA and its partners over the past several years have focused on extensive grower training of these produce safety rules.”
“Consuming produce is one of the best things consumers can do to keep their immune systems strong,” said Cathy Schmelter, An Ounce of Nutrition, a registered dietitian nutritionist. “During this pandemic, it is crucial that we do everything we can to feel better and to boost our immunity. Consuming produce is an excellent way to accomplish both goals.”
CFVGA and the Colorado Produce Safety Collaborative will be hosting a free webinar for all farmers and ranchers to learn how to better communicate with their customers about produce and their operations during the pandemic. The presenter will be Diane Mulligan, M&C Communications, whose firm consulted with growers on communication during the 2011 Holly, Colo., listeria outbreak in cantaloupe. The hour-long, interactive webinar is Wed., March 25, beginning at 12:10pm. To register go to the front page of CFVGA’s website: https://coloradoproduce.org
According to Mulligan, the human tendency when faced with a crisis is to avoid communication when the opposite-communicating openly and fully-is much better for consumers and growers.
The CFVGA is comprised of roughly 250 members, including produce operations of all sizes and types of production throughout the state, as well as representatives of allied industries. The Colorado fruit and vegetable growing sector contributes nearly $485 million to Colorado at the farm gate and is multiplied as it goes through the distribution chain. Over 90,000 Colorado acres are in fruit and vegetable production.