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    Food Safety at Fresh Summit


    Julia Stewart:

    Hello, this is PMA PR Director Julia Stewart, and welcome back to the audio blog, “Ask Dr. Bob.” PMA’s Chief Science Officer Dr. Bob Whitaker is with me today to talk about the opportunities coming up at PMA’s Fresh Summit to learn more about food safety issues. Fresh Summit will be held Oct. 2-5, in Anaheim, California.


    Bob, I understand this year’s convention will include educational programming on food safety, as well as personal access to PMA’s food safety experts like you, and exhibits of food safety solutions. What does that really mean for Fresh Summit participants, and how can they take advantage of these opportunities?


    Bob Whitaker:

    Well Julia, we’ll be putting food safety front and center at Fresh Summit, to help spark a different conversation our industry should be having about the safety of our products. You see, too often our attention gets diverted to individual tactics and tools – when our focus should be risk assessment, management, and what we do every day to make products safer. We’ve got several activities planned to help attendees hone their food safety awareness and to start shifting that conversation.


    On the workshop front, Fresh Summit will have four workshops on crucial topics related to food safety and traceability that everyone in the business should tune into. On Friday I will lead a workshop that will showcase food safety leaders’ priorities, practices and cultures, and review what companies should do differently. We should have a product liability attorney with us that will definitely get folks thinking differently about how their company should look at food safety.


    That same day at our workshop on “Produce Traceability Initiative: Implementation of Best Practices”, PMA Vice President and traceability expert Gary Fleming will provide an update on the PTI action plan, best practices and tips for implementing action plan milestones.


    On Sunday, the workshop titled “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 your real-world business, with speakers including Center for Produce Safety Executive Director Bonnie Fernandez-Fenaroli and myself. I’m particularly excited about this workshop, because there is lots of work going on to help bring research and science to bear to help start answering some of industry’s critical food safety questions.


    On Monday, a panel will discuss how to balance the pressure to improve produce food safety while also protecting the environment. That’s certainly been a hot topic recently.


    Attendees will also want to get together with me and other PMA staff during our office hours in the PMA Center, in booth 2538. I will be in the center to talk food safety with whoever wants to talk with me during the show on Saturday and Sunday. PMA Vice President of Government Relations and Public Affairs, Kathy Means will be available to discuss regulatory and legislative food safety initiatives during her office hours as well. Check with with PMA staff to find out our specific hours.


    Additionally, Gary Fleming will hold office hours in the Produce Traceability Learning Center on the show floor for those companies wishing to discuss traceability issues.  This learning center provides a hands-on place for industry members to delve deeper into the issues that traceability presents and discuss them with experts – and we think it is going to be a big draw at this year’s convention.


    As I’ve said before, food safety is not passive — it is very active and very personal activity, and needs to be part of our business culture. These opportunities at Fresh Summit can help anyone find out more and begin to apply important aspects of food safety and traceability to their own businesses.



    Thank you, Bob. It certainly sounds like a lot of ‘don’t miss’ opportunities for Fresh Summit attendees this year, both on food safety and traceability issues. We look forward to seeing a lot of our members in these forums.


    Thanks very much to our listeners, please join us again next time! Good bye!




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