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In response to the produce industry’s food safety realities, Produce Marketing Association’s (PMA) 2009 Fresh Summit International Convention & Exposition will offer numerous food safety solutions when it convenes Oct. 2 to Oct. 5 in Anaheim, Calif. This year’s convention will include educational programming, personal access to PMA’s food safety experts, and exhibits of food safety solutions in the largest produce trade show in the United States.
“The safety of our products is our responsibility,” said PMA chief science officer Dr. Bob Whitaker. “Too often, our attention gets diverted to tactics and tools like product testing and auditing when indeed our focus should be risk assessment and management, and what we do every day to make products safer. We’ll be putting food safety front and center at Fresh Summit, to help spark a different and more effective conversation about food safety.”
Fresh Summit will feature four educational workshops on such topics as how to strategically approach food safety as a business investment, traceability, a look at some new food safety innovations, and balancing food safety and environmental priorities.
On Friday, Oct. 2:
“Food Safety: New Approaches for a New Economy” will showcase food safety leaders’ priorities, practices and cultures, and review what companies should do differently.
In “Produce Traceability Initiative: Implementation of Best Practices,” PMA VP and traceability expert Gary Fleming will provide an update on the Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI) action plan, best practices and tips for implementing action plan milestones.
On Sunday, Oct. 3:
“Food Safety Innovations: What’s New and What Does It Really Mean?” will take a look at promising new produce safety research, and what it means for real-world business, with speakers including Center for Produce Safety executive director Bonnie Fernandez-Fenaroli and PMA’s Whitaker as moderator. The 18-month-old center has already funded $1.1 million in research grants to fund 11 produce-specific food safety research projects, and additional awards will be revealed in the near future.
On Monday, Oct. 4, a panel will discuss how to balance the pressure to improve produce safety while also protecting the environment. Panelists will include Mike Burness, Chiquita Brands International; Tim York, Markon Cooperative, Inc; and Eric Holst, Environmental Defense Fund. Hank Goclas of the Western Growers Association will serve as moderator.
Fresh Summit attendees can visit personally with PMA food safety experts during “office hours” at the PMA Center in booth 2538. Whitaker will hold office hours on Saturday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Sunday, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.; and Monday 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. PMA VP of government relations and public affairs Kathy Means will be available to discuss regulatory and legislative food safety initiatives when she holds office hours on Saturday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.; Sunday 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.; and Monday noon to 2 p.m.
Meanwhile, PMA’s Fleming will hold office hours in the Produce Traceability Learning Center, in booth 4440, on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
For more information or to register online for Fresh Summit, visit www.pma.com/freshsummit.