Food protection group to explore emerging issues at conference

Aug. 25, 2014
Contact Information:

Steven Ricke, Center for Food Safety, UA System Division of Agriculture
479-575-4678 / sricke@uark.edu

Dave Edmark, Division of Agriculture Communications
479-575-6940 / dedmark@uark.edu

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Fast facts:

* Arkansas Association for Food Protection plans annual conference in Fayetteville
* Food safety issues, student career session on agenda

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Speakers from industry, government and academic institutions will review current issues in food safety during the annual conference of the Arkansas Association for Food Protection Sept. 11-13 at the Chancellor Hotel in Fayetteville.

The Center for Food Safety at the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture is an organizer of the conference, which this year is being held in conjunction with the meeting of the South Central Branch of the American Society for Microbiology. The Arkansas Association for Food Protection is an affiliate of the International Association for Food Protection.

Registration fees for the conference are $40 for AAFP members for $65 for non-members. Details about the conference agenda and registration procedures are online at http://arkafp.org/conferences.aspx. Corporate sponsors of the conference are International Paper, Jones-Hamilton Co., Roka Bioscience, FoodChek, Land O’Frost and World Bioproducts.

“The AAFP conference is the premiere food safety meeting for the state of Arkansas,” said Steven C. Ricke, director of the Division’s Center for Food Safety. “This year’s program includes invited talks from a wide range of internationally known academic and industry speakers on subjects pertinent to all aspects of food safety from the farmer to the consumer buying food at the local farmer’s market or the grocery store. Both the talks and posters represent the latest developments in food safety research as well as current and future issues that are critical to consumers making food purchase decisions on a daily basis.“

Presentations and panel discussions will run from 1 to 4:30 p.m. Sept. 11, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 12 and from 8 a.m. to noon Sept. 13.

Sessions on Sept. 11 will include introductory remarks by Michael Sostrin, a Walmart Stores product merchandising executive. Presentations will cover issues regarding fresh produce including tomato production, greenhouse production and storage and packaging. Trevor Suslow, an extension research specialist at the University of California-Davis, will speak on fresh produce storage and packaging and its role in food safety.

Jim Rankin, University of Arkansas vice provost for research and economic development, will open the session on Sept. 12. That day’s presentations will include sessions on egg food microbiology and safety, preharvest food safety and sustainability issues and pet food safety. The day's session will be capped by Frank Yiannas, Walmart Stores vice president of food safety, who will speak on "Food Safety Equals Behavior."

The Sept. 13 session will focus on student career preparation, choices, opportunities and decisions. Topics will include resume writing, the interview process, careers in the food industry and the role of research programs. Students who are not participating in the previous sessions of the conference will be admitted to the Sept. 13 events for free.

The University of Arkansas is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution.