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UC Davis Ag Center Honors Berry Grower's Health and Safety Success

August 21, 2009

Photo:basket of strawberries

The Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety at UC Davis has selected Reiter Affiliated Companies, an Oxnard-based berry producer, to receive the center’s 2009 Outstanding Achievement in Farm Health and Safety Recognition Award.

The honor recognizes the efforts of Reiter Affiliated Companies, the largest berry producer in North America, to provide its employees with innovative safety training programs, continuing education and health care services. The award will be presented Sept. 18 to Garland Reiter, the firm’s chief executive officer and president. The award will be presented during the center’s annual retreat at the R.H. Phillips Winery and Vineyard.

“Reiter Affiliated Companies is a longtime family business and an amazingly forward-thinking operation,” said Marc Schenker, a UC Davis professor of public health sciences and the center’s director. “It is the first agricultural firm in the nation to provide private health clinics for farm workers.

“Reiter has set a new standard for the agricultural industry by placing a high priority on employee health and safety and following through on that commitment with practical health services, training and education,” Schenker said.

The company reports that during 2008 its risk-management and health care options resulted in a 40 percent decrease in the severity of employee accidents and illnesses.

During the September retreat and ceremony, the center also will present an honorable mention award to Richard Cavaletto, director and department chair in the Agricultural Safety Institute at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

This is the second year that the health and safety award is being presented. It was developed by the UC Davis center to recognize an individual, group, organization, association or business that consistently strives to reduce agricultural workplace injuries and improve overall health on the farm.

The Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety is a multidisciplinary center that works to improve the health and safety of farmers, farmworkers and others in the agricultural industry. It is sponsored by the National Institute of Occupational Health and Safety.

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