SALINAS, Calif. — The 2019 Western Food Safety Summit on May 1-2 at Hartnell College in Salinas, Calif., promises knowledge and insights to help the fresh produce industry tighten safeguards up and down its supply chain.
The 14th annual gathering also offers participants a certificate of completion in recognition of their learning over two intensive days of training.
Aligned with a theme of “Creating a Sustainable Food Safety Culture,” speakers and panelists will zero in on the most immediate safety challenges and opportunities for fresh fruits and vegetables, including irrigation, regulation and traceability. Presenters have been enlisted from state government, trade associations and business leaders from across the spectrum of production and distribution.
The summit’s goal is inform and motivate people throughout the fresh food industry so they’re equipped to strengthen and defend its safety culture instead of scrambling to catch up when crisis hits, said the event’s 2019 chair, Bob Mills, who is director of food safety/technical services for Misionero.
“People need to attend to stay abreast of new food safety regulations affecting everyday operations, especially in light of the ongoing changes due to new technologies and food safety occurrences,” Mills said. “By staying abreast, companies are able to update their food safety plan as needed to ensure it meets regulatory and industry standards.”
Only then, he said, can companies “be confident they are creating and maintaining a sustainable food safety culture that produces both safe and quality products for our consumers.”
The event program is designed to benefit all levels and aspects of the produce industry, including growers, shippers, processors, cooling facilities, shipping facilities and suppliers, as well as food safety directors, executives, managers, crew leaders, farm labor contractors and auditors.
Online registration for the summit event on Hartnell’s Main Campus in Salinas continues through April 19 at give.hartnell.edu/register.
The two-day ticket price is $295, including all course materials, lunch and snacks daily. The student price is $40. After that date, registration will continue on a first-come, first-served basis because space is limited. Walk-ins at the event will be welcome but not guaranteed.
Following a welcome from Dr. Willard Lewallen, superintendent/president of Hartnell, and an overview from Mills, both days will open with keynote speakers: Joe Pezzini, president and CEO of Ocean Mist Farms, on May 1 and Natalie Trout, direction of inspection services for the California Department of Food and Agriculture on May 2.
Each day will have four additional programs in the Mainstage Theater, plus breaks, networking lunches and the opportunity to walk over to the Sponsors’ Table in nearby Steinbeck Hall.
Topics on May 1 will include “Ag and Water” and “recent Romaine lettuce incidents,” featuring representatives from the Produce Marketing Association, Center for Produce Safety, United Fresh Produce Association, D’Arrigo Bros. Co. of California and the Grower-Shipper Association of Central California.
On May 2, there will be a morning presentation on “Practical Applications: Blockchain and Traceability,” by Brendan Solan of Driscoll’s and a closing session titled “Legal Issues in Food Safety: Ask the Experts!” with State Sen. Anna Caballero, D-12, and attorneys Paul Rovella and Paul Moncrief.
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