2015 AAFP Annual Conference Recap

AAFP Annual Conference Wraps Up Conference, Announces Awards

Speakers from industry, government and several universities addressed emerging issues in food safety during the seventh annual Arkansas Association for Food Protection conference Sept. 8-10, 2015. The conference attracted more than 125 people at the Chancellor Hotel in Fayetteville.

This year’s event began with a keynote address by Gary Acuff, director of the Texas A&M University Center for Food Safety, who discussed validation of food safety improvements. Other speakers addressed matters on produce microbiology and safety, pet food and animal feed safety, retail food safety, emerging issues in food safety, sanitation and proposed rules under the Food Safety Modernization Act. 

Several commercial vendors offered opportunities to discuss their products outside the conference hall. Corporate sponsors of the conference were:

Gold Level: Land O’Frost, OK Foods and Roka Biosciences
Silver Level: CareersinFood.com, Qiagen, Diamond V and Mesa Laboratories
Bronze Level: Safe Foods Corp., Jones-Hamilton Co., Edge Biologicals and World Bioproducts

Steven C. Ricke, director of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Center for Food Safety, received the AAFP Fellow award. Ricke is a former president of AAFP.

University of Arkansas food science students participated in a research poster competition with their posters on display in the conference hall throughout the proceedings. Winners of the competition’s categories, designated by the category’s sponsor, were:

  • Sea Star International Food Safety Outreach and Education Poster Award – Shilpa Samant
  • IEH Intervention Pre-Harvest Poster Award – Stephanie Roto 
  • Safe Foods Intervention Post-Harvest Poster Award – Supriya Thote 
  • UA Center for Food Safety Foodborne Pathogens-Fundamental Understanding Poster Award – Rabrinda Mandal 
  • Cargill Rapid Detection Poster Award – Qingin Hu
  • George’s Other and Miscellaneous Poster Award – Sang In Lee
  • Simmons Foods Pet Food and Animal Feed Safety Poster Award (First Place) – Andrea Jeffrey
  • 3-D Corporate Solutions Pet Food and Animal Feed Safety Poster Award (Second Place) – Hou Min Zhong
  • 3-D Corporate Solutions Pet Food and Animal Feed Safety Poster Award (Third Place) – Mary Muckey

Two food science students received the Michael G. Johnson Graduate Endowed Scholarship for Excellence in Food Microbiology Research, Teaching and Peer Mentoring. Stephanie Roto received the first place scholarship and Supriya Thote received the second place scholarship.

Speakers at the 2015 AAFP Conference

Below is a list of who delivered remarks and presentations at the 2015 AAFP conference:


1-5 p.m. – Registration, vendor and poster setup (by 2 p.m. for graduate students in poster competition) 

5:30-6 p.m. – Mixer

6- 7 p.m. – Keynote speaker: Gary Acuff, Texas A&M University
Validation to improve food safety - What are you trying to validate?


8 a.m. – Welcome address: Nancy Gushing, OK Foods, Fort Smith, Ark., President of Arkansas Association for Food Protection

Introductory remarks -- John R. English, Dean, Professor and Irma F. and Raymond F. Giffels Endowed Chair in Engineering, University of Arkansas

Mini-Symposium: Produce Microbiology and Safety

Moderator and Chair – Kristen Gibson, Dept. of Food Science and Center for Food Safety, University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture 

8:15 a.m. – Li (Maria) Ma, Oklahoma State University
Something about cantaloupes

8:45 a.m. – Joshua Gurtler, USDA-ARS Food Safety and Intervention Technologies
Overview of aqueous inactivation of pathogenic bacteria on fresh produce and a new patent-ending formulation

9:15 a.m. – Kim Cook, USDA-ARS Food Animal Environmental Systems Research Unit
Using the agricultural environment to find better surrogates for foodborne pathogens
9:45 a.m. – Break and poster award announcements

Mini-Symposium: Pet Food and Animal Feed Safety

Chair - Griffiths Atungulu, Assistant Professor of Grain Process Engineering, Dept. of Food Science, University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture

Moderator – Hank Cotney, Director, Quality and Technical Services, 3D Corporate Solutions, Monett, Mo.

10:15 a.m. – Erin Bowers, Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, Iowa State University
Mycotoxins management in grains and feed ingredients

10:45 a.m. – Anne Rigdon Huss, Grain Science and Industry, Kansas State University
Recent research to minimize the risk of biological pathogens in animal feed

11:15 a.m. – Roger Cochrane (for Dr. Cassandra Jones), Grain Science and Industry, Kansas State University
Control of Salmonella in animal feed, pet foods and their ingredients using chemical additives

11:45 a.m. – Hank Cotney, Director, Quality and Technical Services, 3D Corporate Solutions
Wrap-up of symposium session

11:50 a.m. – Brittany White, Group Manager, Dry and Treat Pet Food Research and Development, Simmons Pet Food
Wrap-up of poster session and announcement of poster awards

Noon – Lunch (on your own) and poster award announcements
Mini-Symposium: Retail Food Safety

Chair – Phil Crandall, Dept. of Food Science and Center for Food Safety, University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture

Moderator – John Butts, Land O’Frost Vice President for Research, Lansing, Ill.

1 p.m. – Darren Shadduck, Walmart Senior Food Safety Manager
What can be done at retail to reduce risk from Listeria monocytogenes
1:25 p.m. – Haley Oliver, Dept. of Food Science, Purdue University
How whole genome sequencing of L. monocytogenes will impact retail food safety

1:50 p.m. – Kristina Barlow, Senior Microbiologist-Risk, Innovations and Management Staff (RIMS), USDA/FSIS/OPPD
What FSIS expects from their new Best Practices for Controlling Listeria monocytogenes in retail delis

2:15 p.m. – Nathan Jarvis, Dept. of Food Science and Center for Food Safety, University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture
The viable but non-culturable state in L. monocytogenes: what are the implications?

2:45 p.m. – Break and poster award announcements

Mini-Symposiuma: Emerging Issues in Food Safety

Moderators – Brian Umberson and Nancy Gushing, AAFP

Chair – Steven C. Ricke, Dept. of Food Science and Center for Food Safety, University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture

3:15 p.m. – Si Hong Park, Dept. of Food Science and Center for Food Safety, University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture
Application of next generation sequencing (NGS) technology for gut microbiome analysis in poultry and food safety

3:45 p.m. – Todd Callaway, USDA-ARS, College Station, Texas
Moving beyond Escherichia coli O157:H7 – the New STEC Millenium

4:15 p.m – Jia Di, Computer Science and Computer Engineering Department, University of Arkansas
ASCENT – Bridging the gap between food and cyber security

4:45 p.m. – Round table discussion and poster award announcements

5 p.m. – AAFP Awards Ceremony and Business Meeting

5:30- 6:30 p.m. – Mixer

Concurrent sessions to be held at times and rooms to be announced:
* Wednesday morning -- Vendors to speak on current issues in industry such as limits testing, environmental testing and pathogens
* Wednesday afternoon -- Pamela Johnston of Transplace to present legal issues and FSMA regulations facing product shipping. Roundtable discussion follows.

8 a.m. – Welcome: Peggy Cook, Cargill

8:05 a.m. – Kerry Mulqueen, Technical Director, Poultry Industry Association of New Zealand (PIANZ)
Study of avian influenza in Indonesia for the World Health Organization

Mini-Symposium: Sanitation

8:35 a.m. – Moderator: John Marcy, Dept. of Poultry Science, University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture
Worst case assumptions

8:45 a.m. -- Craig Ledbetter, Ecolab Food and Beverage
Sanitation best practices -- food processing

9:15 a.m. -- James Dickson, Dept. of Animal Science, Iowa State University
Validation of sanitation programs

9:45 a.m. – Break

Mini Symposium: FDA Food Safety Modernization Act Proposed Rules – Challenges Facing the Food Industry

Moderator: Amy Clement, Kraft Foods

Dr. Craig W. Henry
, Decernis LLC
Dr. Virginia Deibel, Covance
Dr. Henry served as Senior Vice President for Scientific and Regulatory Affairs for the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and as the Executive Director of the GMA Science and Education Foundation.  He also served as the Senior Vice President and Chief Science Officer for the Food Products Association as well as the Vice President of Food Safety Programs for the National Food Processors Association.  He was responsible for Animal Health at Koch Foods, Foster Farms, and Cargill; as well as animal feed experience with approximately 15 years in Animal Health and Nutrition products (American Cyanamid, DCV Inc.) 
Dr. Deibel
, Ph.D. obtained an M.S. in Bacteriology and a Ph.D. in Food Microbiology and Toxicology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Dr. Deibel She acts as a liaison between clients and the FDA/USDA during product positive events.  She develops HACCP, environmental monitoring, employee and plant practice programs. She provides consultation services on all aspects of plant operations as they relate to microbial quality and safety. Her specialty is participating in investigative microbiology and determining causes of product cross-contamination.
10 a.m. – Craig W. Henry, Decernis LLC

11 a.m. – Virginia Deibel, Covance

Final FSMA Publication on Aug. 30, 2015 (FSMA Court Order)
Rules are released for the following:
* Human Preventative Controls
* Animal and Feed Preventative Controls
* Produce Safety
* Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP)
* Third Party Accreditation
This will be the one of the first expert-driven forums after the release.
Points of Concern:
Conference attendees will hear the following:
* Preparing for a different kind of FDA inspection. 
* Establishing the food safety documentation across the company
* Establishing and managing preventative control programs. 
* Compliance
Discussion about various nuances:
* Human food on-farm packing and holding of produce would be subject to the proposed produce safety rule, but not the human food preventive controls rule. 
* Human food sites to conduct product testing to verify implementation and effectiveness of preventive controls.  
* Human food sites to conduct environmental monitoring to verify implementation and effectiveness of preventive controls if contamination of a ready-to-eat food with an environmental pathogen is a significant hazard.
* If you qualify for an exemption, would have to comply in X amount of time after publication of the final rule?
* What size of business are you classified?

Noon – Meeting adjourned