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IAFP Annual Meeting Underway in Rhode Island

PROVIDENCE—The annual meeting of the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) got underway over the weekend at the Rhode Island State Convention Center.  It continues through Wednesday.

With more than 3,600 members from around the world, IAFP is known for putting on symposiums that are often “ripped out of the headlines” as it not unusual for its presenters to disclose information on recent outbreak investigations that is not made public until these meetings.

At IAFP’s opening session Sunday evening, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Jenny Scott delivered the annual Ivan Parkin Lecture.

Scott, senior advisor for FDA’s Office of Food Safety, spent nearly three decades with the Grocery Manufacturers Association (and its predecessors) before going to work for the federal government three years ago.

She is among top FDA staff working to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) that President Obama signed into law more than a year ago, but whose White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has held up regulatory necessary to implement the law.

Scott stressed the need for government-industry cooperation because food safety is shared responsibility.

At the opening session, IAFP members also heard their organization is financially strong and it membership growing.   The IAFP Foundation topped $1 million in endowments in 2012.   It has added chapters in Africa and Lebanon.

Rhode Island Department of Health Director Michael Fine welcomed the group as is it settled in for a week’s stay.  “I really want you to enjoy this weather and this place,” said Fine.

Outside the opening session, attendees were carefully going over their 158-page program, trying to determine how many hard choices they will have to make between competing sessions.

Multiple sessions on the FSMA are scheduled for Monday, including a focus on third party certification and foreign supplier verifications.   On Tuesday, foodborne disease outbreak updates are scheduled to include sessions on last year’s deadly Listeria outbreak caused by contaminated cantaloupe.

IAFP has one other major meeting scheduled for later this year in Lima, Peru.  It has a European Symposium scheduled for Marseille, France in May 2013.

© Food Safety News