Southeast conference to cover food safety, audits

Source of Article:

By Doug Ohlemeier

(Dec. 2) Two leading industry officials are scheduled to tackle food safety issues during an upcoming southeastern growers’ conference.

Tom Stenzel, president of the United Fresh Produce Association, Washington, D.C., and Reggie Brown, manager of the Florida Tomato Committee and executive vice president of the Florida Tomato Exchange, Maitland, have been invited to address growers on the topic at a Jan. 9 food safety forum during the Southeast Regional Fruit & Vegetable Conference in Savannah, Ga. The conference is from Jan. 9-11.

The conference, co-sponsored by the Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association and the South Carolina Peach Council, will feature an interactive session called “Can the Tomato Crisis Happen to You? How Can You Prevent It?”

The session will also provide growers updated information on what state and federal officials are doing on the food safety issue.

A separate safety session covers good agricultural practices, how growers can prepare for audits, the Produce Traceability Initiative and commodity-specific guidelines on tomatoes, leafy greens and melons.

“Part of this is reviewing and identifying what happened with the tomato salmonella issue in the summer and from an industry standpoint how we can avoid it in the future,” said Charles Hall, executive director of the La Grange-based association. “This should show that Georgia is very concerned about the food safety issue.”

During the spring/summer Salmonella Saintpaul outbreak, federal agencies said tomatoes were to blame, in part, although no tomatoes tested positive.

Other sessions during the ninth annual conference cover grower issues on crops including berries, peaches, pecans, Vidalia onions and watermelon, as well as organic production.



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