CINCINNATI, May 24, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Chiquita Brands International (NYSE: CQB) and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Fresh Express Incorporated, today announced that Fresh Express salads sold nationwide are now manufactured using its new breakthrough produce wash, Fresh Rinse™. Fresh Rinse™ has been scientifically validated to dramatically reduce certain bacteria while at the same time continuing to provide high levels of freshness, taste and quality consumers expect from Fresh Express salads. Leading the category, Fresh Express sells more than 60 varieties of pre-packaged ready-to-eat salads in more than 24,000 retail stores in the United States.
"We've reached an important milestone in our mission to improve world nutrition with the expansion of our revolutionary new process to wash leafy greens across our Fresh Express salad lines," said Fernando Aguirre, Chiquita Chairman and CEO. "In addition to a significant improvement in food safety, our national Fresh Rinse conversion has shown improved quality and freshness as measured by sustained testing at our initial processing facility. Our continuous investments into food safety, freshness, and quality enhancement will make a positive impact on the lives of our consumers by increasing consumption of our nutritious, great tasting Fresh Express salads."
Years of intensive investment by Chiquita, with research led by principal scientist, Dr. Kai-Lai Grace Ho, and support from the company's food safety, innovation and manufacturing teams, led to the invention of Fresh Rinse™. The effectiveness of this new patent-pending technology has been validated by studies performed at the National Center for Food Safety and Technology – a recognized third-party research and testing facility. These independent studies confirmed that Fresh Rinse™ demonstrated superior effectiveness in removing pathogens from wash water and from certain leafy greens compared to traditional chlorine washes. An article detailing the Fresh Rinse™ technology has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication by the Journal of Food Protection.
"The ability of Fresh Rinse to reduce bacteria in fresh produce is an important preventive strategy for minimizing the likelihood of food borne illness," said Dr. David Acheson, former Associate Commissioner and Chief Medical Officer of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as well as an advisor to Fresh Express. "The beauty of Fresh Rinse is the synergy between the two ingredients. When combined, they work together to deliver a significant level of magnitude improvement in antibacterial efficacy. In sum, each ingredient alone is not nearly as powerful in bacteria reduction as the combination of the two; this is a case where two plus two actually equals 22."
The unique ingredients that comprise Fresh Rinse™ are also eco-friendly and break down to safe compounds. Moreover, Fresh Rinse™ meets the strict requirements necessary for use on products labeled organic, which represents a growing segment of the pre-packaged salad category.
Chiquita's mission is to improve world nutrition by helping lead the world in branded, healthy and nutritious foods. Elizabeth Somer, a nationally recognized nutritionist and author often seen on NBC's TODAY Show, works with Fresh Express to educate consumers about the important role fresh lettuces and leafy greens play in providing nutritional benefits for good health.
"The one food that research has shown is most highly associated with longevity and good health is leafy greens – in other words, salads," said Somer. "Because dark leafy greens are the most nutrient-packed foods available to us, a food safety breakthrough like Fresh Rinse used with convenient, ready-to-eat packaged salads will go a long way towards helping consumers increase their consumption through reinforced confidence."
Fresh Rinse™ has been applauded as a significant advancement in fresh salad food safety by leading medical and scientific experts who advised Fresh Express during the project. In addition to Dr. Acheson, they include Dr. Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH and Executive Director of the University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy; and Dr. Robert Buchanan, director and professor, University of Maryland Center for Food Safety & Security Systems, former senior investigator, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and former deputy administrator for science and technology for the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service.
Fresh Express salads cleaned with Fresh Rinse™ can now be found in the refrigerated salad section of grocery stores and supermarkets nationwide. Fresh Express is currently the only company distributing salads washed in Fresh Rinse™. As part of its commitment to public health, Chiquita intends to license Fresh Rinse™ for use by others in the produce and fresh foods industries. For more information please visit www.FreshExpress.com.
A HISTORY OF FOOD SAFETY BY CHIQUITA AND FRESH EXPRESS
Fresh Express has a long history of food safety leadership. The company offers the proprietary 7-Steps of Prevention™ Food Safety Program that requires rigorous food safety and quality checks at each step in a salad's journey – from seed development and the time lettuces and greens are first planted and become delicate seedlings all the way through to the time completed fresh salads are made available to consumers on grocery store shelves. In 2008, Fresh Express led the industry by funding $2 million for a research initiative to study the E. coli O157:H7 pathogen in leafy greens, with findings made available to the entire industry to help identify and enhance prevention strategies. In 2010, Fresh Express was awarded the prestigious Black Pearl Award for Corporate Excellence in Food Protection from the International Association for Food Protection. The company's strong commitment to food safety innovations is evidenced most recently by the discovery of Fresh Rinse™.
ABOUT FRESH EXPRESS
Fresh Express, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Chiquita Brands International, Inc. (NYSE: CQB), is a leader in fresh foods and is dedicated to providing consumers with healthy, convenient ready-to-eat salads, leafy greens, vegetables and fruits. With the invention of its special Keep Crisp® bag in the 1980s, Fresh Express pioneered the retail packaged salad category and was the first to make them available to grocery stores nationwide. Today, Fresh Express fresh salads come in more than 60 different varieties and package sizes offering exciting new flavors and convenient new ways to meet the daily dietary requirements for fresh produce. More than 20 million consumers each week enjoy healthy, convenient ready-to-eat Fresh Express salads, spinach, vegetables and greens. For more information, visit www.freshexpress.com.
About Chiquita Brands International, Inc.
Chiquita Brands (NYSE: CQB) is a leading international marketer and distributor of high-quality fresh and value-added food products – from energy-rich bananas and other fruits to nutritious blends of convenient green salads. The company markets its healthy, fresh products under the Chiquita® and Fresh Express® premium brands and other related trademarks. With annual revenues of more than $3 billion, Chiquita employs more than 21,000 people and has operations in nearly 70 countries worldwide. For more information, please visit our corporate web site at www.chiquitabrands.com.
SOURCE Fresh Express Incorporated