Farm to Fable: Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam ponders curbing food misrepresentation
TAMPA - Florida's Agriculture Commissioner Wednesday said the state needs to better understand the definition of "Fresh from Florida," and more thoroughly police the claims restaurateurs make to customers.
Adam Putnam's comments were spurred by the Tampa Bay Times' investigative series, called Farm to Fable, which published in April and exposed food misrepresentations at Florida's so-called farm-to-table restaurants and farmers markets.
Before publication, Putnam declined all interviews and channeled comments through his spokespeople. But since Farm to Fable was widely circulated and picked up by national news outlets, Putnam has started to speak.
On Tuesday, he made his first statements to the Times, vowing to crack down on deceptive practices and misuse of the state's Fresh from Florida marketing program. And on Wednesday, he went into much more detail on a sidewalk outside Cruise Terminal 6 of Port Tampa Bay. He was there to discuss exporting Florida foods at the first Fresh from Florida Export Summit.
In a 15-minute interview, Putnam talked to me about the investigation and changes it might cause at the state level.