Almost 4,000 people from around the world gathered recently for the annual conference and meeting of the International Association for Food Protection in  Louisville, KY.

Attendees represented 51 countries, all 50 U.S. states, and seven Canadian provinces. The association’s annual event included more than 1,000 presentations including 71 symposia, 22 roundtable sessions, 131 technical presentations, and more than 765 poster presentations.

Representatives from 187 companies, including 41 new exhibitors, showcased equipment and the latest innovations in food safety services in the Exhibit Hall. 

The vast event at the Kentucky International Convention Center that includes association members from every branch on the food safety tree, from academia to regulators to industry, began more than 100 years ago. According to the association’s website:

On October 16, 1911, 35 men from Australia, Canada and the United States held the first International Association of Dairy and Milk Inspectors meeting in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Twenty-five years later, the Association became the International Association of Milk Sanitarians. After a successful 11 years, in 1947, its name changed to the International Association of Milk and Food Sanitarians, Inc. In 1966, the Association changed to the International Association of Milk, Food and Environmental Sanitarians. And in October 1999, Members voted to accept the current name, International Association for Food Protection.

At this year’s meeting and conference, 32 individuals and organizations received recognition for their work to advance food safety. Association members also saw their organization’s presidential gavel change hands on the final evening of the conference at the annual awards banquet.

Incoming president, Kali Kniel of the University of Delaware accepted the gavel from outgoing president Tim Jackson of Driscoll’s of the Americas, Watsonville, CA. 

Kniel is a professor in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences at the University of Delaware in Newark, where she has been since 2004. She was the recipient of the IAFP Elmer Marth Educator Award in 2015.

IAFP’s new president received her bachelor’s of science in biology, master’s of science in molecular cell biology, and Ph.D. in food science, all from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA. From 2002 to 2004 she served as a postdoctoral research microbiologist with the Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service.

In addition to Kniel, other members of the IAFP Executive Board include:

  • President-Elect, Roger Cook, New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries, Wellington, New Zealand
  • Vice President, Ruth Petran, Ecolab Inc., St. Paul, MN
  • Secretary, Michelle Danyluk, University of Florida, Lake Alfred, FL
  • Past President, Tim Jackson, Driscoll’s of the Americas, Watsonville, CA
  • Affiliate Council Chair, Maria Ma, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 

Awards and award recipients announced at the 2019 IAFP Annual Conference and Meeting included:

The IAFP Fellow Award, given to professionals who have contributed to IAFP and its affiliates with distinction over an extended period of time, went to Francisco Diez-Gonzalez of the University of Georgia-Athens; Linda J. Harris, University of California-Davis; Steven Ricke, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville; and Tori Stivers, University of Georgia-Athens.

Gary Acuff, Texas A&M University, College Station, received the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award. This award, given at the discretion of the IAFP president, recognizes an individual who has made a lasting impact on Advancing Food Safety Worldwide® through a lifetime of professional achievements in food protection.

The Honorary Life Membership Award, which recognizes IAFP members for their dedication to the high ideals and objectives of IAFP and for their service to the association went to J. Stan Bailey of bioMérieux, Athens, GA; Pina Fratamico, Collaborator Scientist Emeritus of USDA Agricultural Research Service, Wyndmoor, PA; Keith Ito, University of California-Davis; John Holah, Holchem Laboratories Ltd., Bury, United Kingdom; and Jenny Scott, U.S. FDA CFSAN, College Park, MD.

The Harry Haverland Citation Award went to Randy Worobo, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, for his years of devotion to the ideals and objectives of the association.

Clēan Works Corp., Beamsville, Ontario, Canada, received the Food Safety Innovation Award, given for its patent pending processes for sanitizing the surface of produce and other foods without using water.

The International Leadership Award went to Marcel Zwietering, Wageningen University, The Netherlands, for his dedication to the high ideals and objectives of IAFP and for promotion of the mission of the Association in countries outside of the United States and Canada.

Almond Board of California, Modesto, California, received the GMA Food Safety Award in recognition of a long history of outstanding contributions to food safety research and education.

The Frozen Food Foundation Freezing Research Award went to Martin Wiedmann, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. This award honors an individual, group, or organization for preeminence and outstanding contributions in research that impacts food safety attributes of freezing.

Jasna Kovac, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, received the Young Investigator Award in Microbial Resistance. This award recognizes an individual who has shown outstanding ability and professional promise as a researcher in food microbiology/food safety focusing on antimicrobial resistance.

The Maurice Weber Laboratorian Award went to Larry Beuchat, University of Georgia — Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus, Athens, to recognize his service for outstanding contributions in the laboratory and recognizing a commitment to the development of innovative and practical analytical approaches in support of food safety.

Andrea Moreno Switt, Universidad Andres Bello, Santiago, Chile, received the Larry Beuchat Young Researcher Award. This award is presented to a young researcher who has shown outstanding ability and professional promise in the early years of his or her career.

Tanya Roberts, Center for Foodborne Illness Research and Prevention, Vashon, Washington, received the Ewen C.D. Todd Control of Foodborne Illness Award. This award recognizes an individual for dedicated and exceptional contributions to the reduction of risks of foodborne illness.

Scott Burnett, Post Consumer Brands, Lakeville, MN, received the Sanitarian Award to recognize his dedication and exceptional service to the profession of sanitarian, serving the public and the food industry.

The Elmer Marth Educator Award went to Marcel Zwietering, Wageningen University, The Netherlands, to recognize his dedication and exceptional contributions to the profession of the educator.

Ken Davenport, 3M Food Safety, Minneapolis, MN, received the Harold Barnum Industry Award. This award recognizes his outstanding service to IAFP, the public and the food industry.

The Ivan Parkin Lecture opened the session and featured Barbara Chamberlin, Professor of Extension Instructional Design and Education Media Specialist at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

The conference sessions ended with the John H. Silliker Lecture, delivered by Robert Tauxe, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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