With tonight’s opening session, the International Association for Food Protection marks a milestone. The group will be under new leadership for the first time in 30 years.

In the spring of this year, David Tharp announced his retirement. Lisa Hovey succeeds him as executive director. Hovey has most recently served as assistant director of IAFP.

“David has played a transformational role in the association, including a name change, expansion of international meetings and workshops, increased focus on student scholarships, and establishing a robust financial standing,” said Michelle Danyluk, Professor, Food Science & Extension Specialist, University of Florida, and IAFP President. “He leaves the Association in a strong position, including an extremely capable staff, that will serve IAFP well into the future.”

Also new this year is an effort by the IAFP Foundation. The Foundation’s “4 for 40” campaign seeks to raise $4 million by the beginning of the group’s 40th anniversary in 2024.

The Foundation is currently funded through contributions from corporations and individuals. A portion of the support is provided from the Sustaining Membership of IAFP. The Sustaining Membership Program is a unique way for organizations to partner with the Association.

“We live in a global economy and the way food is grown, processed and handled can impact people around the world. From a public health perspective, it often provides unique challenges to the food safety professional,” according to a statement from the organization. “Combine these issues with the complexity of protecting the food supply from threats of intentional contamination and the challenges seem overwhelming. However, with our support the Foundation can make an impact on these issues.”

The Foundation’s work helps supplement the IAFP mission: “To provide food safety professionals worldwide with a forum to exchange information on protecting the food supply.”

Working together, IAFP members representing more than 50 countries help the association achieve its mission through networking, educational programs, journals, career opportunities and numerous other resources.

The IAFP represents a broad range of members with a singular focus — protecting the global food supply. Within the association, there are educators, government officials, food industry executives and quality control professionals who are involved in all aspects of growing, storing, transporting, processing, preparing and regulating all types of foods and beverages.

The IAFP Annual Meeting is attended by more than 3,800 of the top food safety professionals from six continents. The event owes its reputation and success to the quantity, quality, and diversity of each year’s program; the quality and relevance of exhibits sharing the latest in available technologies; leading experts speaking on a variety of timely topics; and special recognition of outstanding professionals and students for their contributions in the food safety field.

“Food protection remains a top priority in today’s interconnected world. Our meeting will help you stay in touch with current and emerging issues, the latest science, and solutions to new and ongoing problems,” said IAFP President Michelle Danyluk in her welcome message. “Of equal or greater importance is the opportunity to network with colleagues and developing scientists, often the most valuable information one can gather is in an impromptu conversation in the hallway.”

The annual event opens tonight with the Ivan Parkin Lecture. Delivering the lecture this year is Sarah Cahill. Her presentation, “Anatomy of a Food Standard”, is set for 6 p.m.  

Cahill is from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and is based in Rome, Italy. Her experience includes:

  • Leading communications and awareness activities for the Secretariat of the Codex Alomentarius Commission;
  • Responsibility for the work of a number of Codex committees, including food hygiene;
  • Joined FAO in Rome in 1999 to play a key role in the establishment of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Meetings on Microbiological Risk Assessment (JEMRA) in the early 2000s;
  • Previously led the FAO JEMRA Secretariat, overseeing provision of scientific advice on microbiological hazards in a wide range of foods for use in both Codex standard setting processes and FAO member countries;
  • Served as FAO’s food safety focal point on antimicrobial resistance, contributing to development of FAO’s AMR action plan and serving as technical lead for a global capacity development project to engage the food and agriculture sector in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.

This year’s event closes on July 19 with the John H. Silliker Lecture, presented by Michael Brodsky, Brodsky Consultants, Thornhill, Ontario, Canada. His lecture, set for 4 p.m., is entitled “No Person is an Island.”

Brodsky’s experience includes:

  • Serving as an environmental microbiologist for more than 50 years, including various positions with the government of Ontario, AOAC International, and Silliker Laboratories;
  • Established Brodsky Consultants in 2001;
  • Served as IAFP president 1997-1998;
  • Recipient of IAFP Harry Haverland Citation award, the President’s Recognition Award, the Fellow Award and the Honorary Life Membership Award.

He has a masters in microbiology from the University of Toronto’s School of Hygiene.

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