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Food safety councilharvests its CEO from Modesto almond board

Merle Jacobs, who spent 20years with the Almond Board of California, is the newpresident and chief executive officer of the American Council for Food Safety and Quality. The Sacramentobasedcouncil assists the dried fruit and nut industrieswith sanitation and related issues. Jacobs succeeds Richard Novy, who retired after 28years with the council. Jacobs' posts with theModesto-basedalmond group included field representative, product quality manager and associate director of industry relations, food quality and safety.

Starting July 23, growers of spinach, lettuce and other leafy greens in the state will start audits of their food safety precautions. The program grewout of the E. coli outbreak affecting spinach from aSalinas-area processor last year. The audits are mandatory for growers who choose to join the California Leafy Green Products Marketing Agreement. The enrolled growers represent about 99 percent of the acreage, accordingtotheCalifornia Department of Food and Agriculture.TheCentralCoast produces most of the state's greens, but some are grown in the San Joaquin Valley.

A gathering in Fresno on Wednesday will give wine grape growers a look at potential new varieties for the Central Valley. It will be at 10a.m. in the Viticulture and Enology Research Center at California State University, Fresno, 2360 E. Barstow Ave. The $10 fee includes lunch. For reservations or more information, call Jon Holmquist at 559661-5539.

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