3rd Annual Making Food Safer Breakfast
Last weekend, the best and the brightest in food safety gathered in Portland, Oregon for the International Association for Food Protection Annual Meeting. IAFP brings together food safety and production specialists from all over the world to talk about the latest technological advances and topics of concern in the food safety industry. In addition to the business and technical sessions, we host an annual breakfast panel to explore the tough topics. It is always a fun and interesting event and this year was no exception. This year's panelist brought perspectives from regulatory, academia, retail and wholesale. David Acheson of The Acheson Group, Craig Wilson from Costco, Indaue Mello from Coca-Cola, and Professor Martin Wiedmann from Cornell shared their expertise and ideas along with an enthusiastic audience. Here's a quick recap:
Going into the breakfast, we were planning to touch on seven topics of concern, but due to heated debate and discussion we only got about halfway through. We'll save these great topics for next year's event.
How significant a risk is pathogenic contamination in retail? What should be done with regard to food safety? How should this be regulated? What role do the production companies play in retail food safety, if any?
Globalization & Food Safety:
We’ve all heard, and some of us have lived through the challenging dynamics of the global supply chain. What are the risk points when working with suppliers outside the US? How do you mitigate against them? For those of you with facilities outside the US, how do you harmonize standards across your business?
In recent years, there have been great microbial advances, including the identification of new species of Listeria. What should the industry and regulatory be doing with this information? When and how should bodies like FDA, ISO or AOAC catch up with these new findings?
The panelists responded to these topics with expertise and enthusiasm but also with a bit of humor and compassion.
- Martin felt that the New Listeria should not be incorporated into diagnostics because it is non-pathogenic and does not grow under conditions similar to L. Mono. He actually argued that they should be a different species.
- Both David Acheson and Craig Wilson noted their support for a single food agency. This is a hot topic that we'll certainly want to dig into next year!
- We explored with our audience the topic of the cultural preferences on food safety, things like raw milk cheese and steak tartare. However, Craig was quick to remind us that this is no excuse for serving unsafe food and that he would proudly serve them provided that they met his food safety and quality standards.
- In exploring globalization, Indaue reminded us that in regions where food supply is short, food safety comes second to clean water and hunger. She shared with us some of the great initiatives that the Coca-Cola company explores to improve the quality of life in these regions.
Thank you again to our panelists and attendees. We believe that events like IAFP give us a great opportunity to learn from each other, share best practices and make food safer. See you in St. Louis for IAFP 2016!