The 2010 National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show will feature two produce-focused education sessions that will tap into consumer trends and food safety, and a featured cooking demonstration at its World Culinary Showcase that will highlight produce as a cost-saving, customer-pleasing meal solution.
 
The programs are made possible by an ongoing partnership between the Produce Marketing Association and the NRA that began last year with the announcement of a joint initiative to increase produce use in foodservice by 2020. The Produce Marketing Association represents nearly 3,000 companies from every segment of the global produce and floral supply chain.
 
"We welcomed this opportunity to include produce-specific programming at the restaurant industry's top convention and exposition, as part of our associations' ongoing collaboration to grow both our industries' businesses," said PMA president & CEO Bryan Silbermann. "More produce in foodservice is a win for everyone, including our end consumers."
 
Sessions will emphasize the "healthy living" and "profitability" aspects of the NRA's industry imperatives outlined last fall.
 
The Monday, May 24 session, "Innovating with Fresh Produce: Taste, Profit and Healthy Living," will have PMA leaders discussing the best ways to build flavorful and healthy menus while enhancing profitability. Speakers featured in this session include Cliff Pleau of Darden Restaurants concept Seasons 52, Cheesecake Factory's Kix Nystrom, and Sysco/Freshpoint's Rich Dachman.
 
On Sunday, May 23, PMA chief science & technology officer Dr. Bob Whitaker will moderate a session on "Enhancing the Safety of Fresh Produce." The session, to be held from 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., will feature a discussion by produce and foodservice industry experts to help attendees better understand produce-specific food safety issues affecting the industry. Topics to be covered include the value and limits of Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) audits, the proper role of product testing, an update on pending federal food safety legislation and regulation, and how to balance food safety demands and their unintended impact on the environment. Speakers include PMA and National Restaurant Association members Jorge Hernandez of U.S. Foodservice and Tim York of Markon Cooperative, as well as Dr. Suresh DeCosta of McDonalds Corporation.
 
The annual National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show will take place May 22-25 at Chicago's McCormick Place.

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