WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. -- Dole Fresh Vegetables Inc., a subsidiary of Dole Food Company, Inc., today announced that it has signed the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement. Under the voluntary Agreement, all participants must adhere to established good agricultural practices (GAP) and food safety guidelines.

Dole said it has always used GAP in all its growing operations, and the company has been a strong supporter of the agreement as a standard for the industry. Dole has taken food safety one step further by applying the California standards in all states where its leafy greens are grown.

The California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement will set mandatory and specific standards for leafy greens supply; the California Department of Health Services will monitor compliance with the new standards. Facilitated by the Western Growers Association, Dole worked collaboratively with a group that consisted of growers, processors, regulators and members of academia to formulate the agreement.

Eric Schwartz, President of Dole Fresh Vegetables, said: "Dole is in full support of a uniform, national, leafy greens food safety standard that will set mandatory and explicit guidelines in the produce industry. We strongly encourage our retail and food service customers to support the Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement by requiring their produce suppliers to sign this Agreement.

"Food safety is our top priority. This is another example of our commitment to work with government, industry leaders, trade organizations and food safety experts to continuously seek ways to improve and enhance food safety for consumers."

Dole Food Company Inc., with 2005 revenues of $5.9 billion, is the world's largest producer and marketer of high-quality fresh fruit, fresh vegetables and fresh-cut flowers. Dole markets a growing line of packaged foods and frozen fruit and is a produce industry leader in nutrition education and research.

SOURCE: Dole Food Company Inc. via Business Wire.