Three companies have donated a total of $200,000 to the Center for Produce Safety.

International Paper, a global paper and packaging company, pledged $100,000. “International Paper is a large supplier of corrugated packaging for customers in the fresh produce industry, where food safety is of critical importance,” said Peter Heist, area vice president of the company.

“Supporting this valuable research is just one more way that International Paper can add value to our customers by helping to ensure the delivery of safe, fresh, high-quality produce to consumers.”

H-E-B and Duda Farm Fresh Foods each pledged $50,000.

“H-E-B recognizes that produce is a part of a healthy diet and is committed to offering high quality product each and every day. We are also committed to safe food and are proud to support CPS in its research efforts focused in this area,” said Hugh Topper, vice president.

Sam Duda, vice president of Duda Farm Fresh Foods, said, “Duda is proud to be a part of CPS, and believes that food safety research is critical to the current and future health of our industry. We believe the scientific research funded by CPS is crucial to enhance food safety and we are thrilled to make a contribution toward this goal.”

 The gifts will support CPS’s competitive research grant programs. The center funds produce-general and commodity-specific research to address the fresh produce industry’s food safety research needs.

With the help of its public and private sector research partners, CPS has compiled an impressive three-year body of work, awarding nearly $9 million and funding 59 one- and two-year research projects at 19 universities and organizations.

This year, an additional $3 million is available to fund projects that will be evaluated through CPS’s 2012 request for proposals.

“The produce supply chain has stepped up, once again, to show that collective effort can result in success,” said Stephen Patricio, chair of the CPS advisory board.

“These three companies, representing retail, production and industry suppliers, demonstrate that food safety is taken seriously by the fresh produce industry.”