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The increasing globalization of the food industry - from sourcing of ingredients and packaging materials to the production of goods for export to or repackaging in another country - has profound implications for food safety. Supply chains are becoming more complex, which strains our ability to track products and their components back to their points of origin. And laws and regulations concerning food safety may differ from country to country.
At the upcoming IFT Annual Meeting & Food ExpoB. in Anaheim, several sessions and programs will address the issue of globalization and food safety.
On Sunday afternoon, June 7, Session 046 will provide an update on the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). GFSI has three goals: (1) achieve harmonization of food safety management system standards through a benchmarking process, (2) improve cost-efficiency throughout the food supply chain through a common acceptance of recognized standards, and (3) provide a unique international stakeholder platform for networking, knowledge exchange, and sharing of best food safety practices and information. This symposium will discuss the GFSI initiative, compare the benchmarked standards, and detail the certification process in order to provide critical information to make the proper management decision with regard to the certification process. In addition, it will present a case study on the process a food plant used to obtain certification of their food safety management system.
Also on Sunday afternoon, Session 047 will discuss the chemical safety of imported Chinese food products. Recent disease outbreaks linked to imported pet food ingredients in the United States and infant dairy formula in China have triggered product recalls and detention of imported dairy products. In this symposium, experts from government and academia will provide insights into existing problems, information on rapid detection techniques for chemical contaminants, including melamine, as well as an update on new Chinese food safety regulations.
On Monday morning, June 8, Session 103 will feature the Food Microbiology Division Lecture by William Sperber, Global Ambassador for Food Protection, Cargill, Inc. He will address food safety on a global basis, including the proposed formation of an authoritative intergovernmental body with the sole responsibility for food protection throughout the global food supply chain.
Also on Monday morning, Session 085 will address the benefits and challenges of fresh produce tracing. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has worked with other federal and state food safety agencies, retailers, and growers to increase surveillance and improve detection methods to enhance fresh produce safety and reduce the incidence of foodborne illnesses. However, this initiative is focused on prevention and would benefit from a coordinated tracing mechanism. In this symposium, speakers from the fresh produce industry, government agencies, and retailers will discuss the latest measures and future trends toward implementation of a reliable and cost-effective traceability system that is acceptable to the regulatory agencies, growers, and retailers.
Session 104 on Monday morning will examine food safety priorities and research needs for retail and foodservice in the next five years. Attendees will learn how companies and retail operators are responding to meeting changing consumer demands for fresh, green, organic, and minimally processed food that is safe.
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On Monday afternoon, Session 144 will address how companies can mitigate food safety risks in a global market. This session will provide up-to-date and relevant information on processes, systems, and case studies from global food companies. Presenter Sid N. Jhaveri, Director of Global Product Safety and Regulatory Affairs, Starbucks Coffee Co., will discuss systems and processes required to deliver safe food andB beverages for consumers. He will also share some of the challenges in meeting regional and local regulatory and safety standards throughout the supply chain. Presenter Afsaneh Sadeghnobari, Director of Quality Assurance & Regulatory Affairs for Beverage Systems, Kerry Group, will discuss the issue of procuring ingredients for foods from an ever expanding international market, which poses new and increasingly complicated risks. A highly developed system of controls must include an in-depth risk assessment process, a focused and real audit presence, as well as an integrated approach between Quality Assurance professionals, purchasing managers, and industry experts.
On Tuesday afternoon, June 9, Session 237 will discuss how consumers and other food handlers can improve the safety of their fresh and fresh-cut produce. An increasing number of foodborne illness outbreaks have been associated with the consumption of contaminated fresh and fresh-cut produce, impacting significantly on public health, consumer confidence, and the U.S. economy. This symposium will focus on the challenges and opportunities for improving produce safety at the retail, foodservice, and consumer levels. Researchers from multidisciplinary fields will present cutting-edge technologies and practical solutions.
Also on Tuesday afternoon, Session 240 will address the global sourcing of food ingredients. Attendees will learn how to reduce risk in global ingredient sourcing through implementing best practices and legal protections. Presenter Larry Platt, President, RQA, will discuss the risks and challenges associated with global sourcing, as well as the level of confidence required to protect brands and consumers. He will review some of the best practices in global supply chain sourcing, including document review, facility auditing, and inspections. Presenter Mat O'Connor, Director of Global Sourcing, TIC Gums, Inc., will provide attendees with some key strategies and best practices for managing foreign suppliers, establishing necessary quality and surveillance systems, andB ensuring standards compliance.
Session 247 on Tuesday afternoon will provide highlights of a recent IFT Expert Report: Making decisions about the risks of chemicals in foods with limited scientific information. An IFT expert panel examined the complexity surrounding timely decision-makingB about risk when an undesirable chemical contaminant or an unanticipated chemical substance is detected in a food commodity, ingredient, or finished product, particularly when available information about the substance is less complete than desirable. Attendees will learn about the extensive U.S. legal framework and international institutions and measures governing the safety of the food supply; risk analysis, i.e., how the nature and size of real orB potential risks are determined, or, more frequently, estimated; how available information on the nature, size, and probability of a risk can be applied in making appropriately conservative and balanced decisions; the Threshold of Toxicological Concern concept and a Toxicological Priority Grid visualized by the IFT expert panel; and how to balance the risk(s) of an unavoidable food component against the benefit(s) of the food in which that component is found.
Several sessions will address the identification and control of pathogenic bacteria in the food supply. On Sunday morning, Session 001 will address Molecular approaches to food safety include nucleic acid-based methods to detect foodborne pathogens and subtyping approaches to discriminate isolates belonging to a given pathogen beyond the species or subspecies level. This symposium will cover the fundamentals of molecular biology and cell physiology as they apply to development, implementation, and interpretation of molecular detection and subtyping approaches to detect and characterize foodborne pathogens.
--- PAGE BREAK ---Several sessions will address the identification and control of pathogenic bacteria in the food supply. On Sunday morning, Session 001 will address Molecular approaches to food safety include nucleic acid-based methods to detect foodborne pathogens and subtyping approaches to discriminate isolates belonging to a given pathogen beyond the species or subspecies level. This symposium will cover the fundamentals of molecular biology and cell physiology as they apply to development, implementation, and interpretation of molecular detection and subtyping approaches to detect and characterize foodborne pathogens.
On Tuesday morning, Session 187 will explore recent research findings on internalization of pathogens in fresh produce and control strategies. Attendees will better understand the current challenges in preharvest prevention of foodborne pathogens in fresh produce and in the control of internalized pathogens postharvest. This symposium will examine current advances in research on internalization of pathogens and the interaction of pathogens with plant tissues. It will also explore various factors that contribute to internalization of pathogens, such as disease condition, mechanical disruption, and presence of natural microflora. Presenters will discuss control of pathogen internalization at the farm level and use of best practices and good agricultural practices that limit contamination of fresh produce on the farm. Since washing the fresh produce can be ineffective against internalized pathogens, presenters will address other control options such as irradiation.
On Tuesday afternoon, Session 236 will be an oral session on microbial survival and inactivation. Presenter Rong Murphy, FPTI, will discuss the application of ultrasonic technology for killing Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes in fluid systems. Presenter Alison C. Lacombe, University of Maine, will present research on the antimicrobial effect of constituent cranberry components against Escherichia coli O157:H7. Presenter Aliyar Fouladhah, Colorado State University, will discuss the effects of combined heat and acetic acid on natural microflora reduction of cantaloupe melons. Presenter Mary Anne Roshni Amalaradjou, University of Connecticut, will discuss the use of plant-derived antimicrobials for the inactivation of methicillin-resistant and vancomycin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in laboratory medium and commercial salad mix. Presenter Shivani Gupta, Colorado State University, will discuss the survival and recovery of Listeria monocytogenes from laminate kitchen countertop surfaces with different cleaning materials.
On the show floor at Food Expo, a special area will house the Food Safety & Quality Pavilion. This exhibition area will host about 35 companies offering a range of products and services from analytical instruments, independent testing, and environmental sampling to online analyzers, sanitation audits, and test kits for allergens, GMOs, and toxins. Here's a sampling of what some exhibitors will be highlighting at their booths throughout the exhibition.
Single instrument measures both water activity and moisture content using Decagon's proven water activity measurement technology. To measure moisture content using water activity requires an understanding of the relationship between the two parameters. This relationship, referred to as the moisture sorption isotherm, is complex and unique to each product type. It must be determined experimentally by measuring water content at several water activity values. This can be done manually with saturated salt slurries and desiccators or automatically using an isotherm generator instrument. Decagon's AquaSorp isotherm generator can rapidly generate robust isotherms with high data resolution. Once the isotherm has been generated, it can be used to indirectly determine moisture content based on a water activity measurement. Benefits include less than 5 min test time, no heating, nondestructive, water activity range 0.10 to 0.95, moisture content repeatability 0.02%, and accuracy to moisture content reference method 0.1% to 0.5%. Decagon Devices, www.decagon.com, Booth 601.
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Texture analyzer features a traditional compression mode as well as a new tension mode. Manufacturers can now test their products and their packaging. The large vertical work area of the instrument is ideal for large sample placement. This also allows for increased travel distance maximizingB the functionality of the new tension mode. The CT3 analyzer offers load cells in 100 g, 1,000 g, 1,500 g, 4,500 g, and 10 kg. It also features seven test modes: normal test, hold time test, cycle count test, bloom test, TPA test, tension test, and static load calibrator check. Brookfield Engineering, www.brookfieldengineering.com, Booth 827.
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Bob Swientek is Editor-in-Chief of Food Technology and Director of Publications at IFT