IAFP 2021 Emphasizes Food Safety & Sanitation from Farm to Fork

Neither the heat nor the hybrid-nature of the conference amid the pandemic could stop food safety professionals from attending IAFP 2021 on July 18 – 21 in the beautiful city of Phoenix, AZ. Regulatory, industry, academia, and advocacy groups participated online and in-person while effectively contributing towards the organization’s mission of “Advancing Food Safety Worldwide.” 

The customary Ivan Parkin Lecture was delivered by Dr. Robert Gravani, Professor Emeritus of Food Science at Cornell University. He aptly emphasized creating a learning culture among company employees to raise the bar on food safety. During the presentation, we were honored to have our Remco IAFP 2019 poster mentioned, including our finding that: “…one-third of FDA food product recalls from 2008-2009 were clearly related to cleaning and sanitation, hygiene, and material-handling practices.” 

The conference agenda also included symposia sessions, technical presentations and posters, roundtable talks, and exhibit booths organized by various stakeholders representing the farm-to-fork food supply continuum. Some of the key engaging topics of interest were on: 

  • Fresh produce safety challenges in the U.S. market and continuous improvement initiatives. 
  • Innovative dry-cleaning and sanitation strategies for low aw food processing facilities. 
  • Traceback challenges and opportunities in recent Listeriosis outbreak investigations. 
  • Using the Root Cause Analysis tool for investigating and preventing contamination incidents. 
  • Allergen management controls at grocery chains and foodservice outlets, etc. 

This year also marks the 10th anniversary for the U.S. Food Safety Modernization Act, which was enacted into law on Jan. 4, 2011. This sweeping reform shifted the FDA’s focus from mere reactive food safety interventions to a proactive mode of preventing food contamination incidents and bending the curve of foodborne illnesses. Celebrating the first year since the launch of the New Era of Smarter Food Safety blueprint, FDA Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response Frank Yiannas made it clear: “…we aren’t walking away from FSMA, but that through the New Era initiative, we would want to facilitate the adoption of smarter technologies, flexible and feasible prevention-based models by industry, with people-led food safety culture in mind.”  

 In a nutshell, the conference theme was well put forward by Barbara Masters during her John H. Siliker Lecture presentation. Drawing from the challenges and experiences in helping come up with FSIS Salmonella performance standards for reducing contamination in raw meat and poultry, her takeaway message was equally resounding: “We are all working together on the same puzzle!” 

Remco also presented a poster on a new risk model that may be used for effectively planning food safety hazard management controls for the food industry. The presentation was well received by the audience, especially regarding the addition and accountability of detectability and controllability hazard elements.  Besides, as a leading manufacturer and supplier of FDA-compliant, color-coded, and durable cleaning and material handling tools for food facilities and other hygiene-sensitive environments, we are proud to have consistently participated as a gold sustaining member and exhibitor at the conference. For more information about our products and services, contact us. 

About IAFP: International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) is a member-based association of more than 4,500 food safety professionals committed to Advancing Food Safety Worldwide® by providing food safety professionals worldwide with a forum to exchange information on protecting the food supply. More information is available at: https://www.foodprotection.org/