Education opportunities abound for food safety

by Lucy Sutton
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Several organizations are offering education and support for the industry as it adapts to the new requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

"ABA will be reviewing [key preparation] steps with our members to ensure that all are ready," said Len Heflich, chair of the American Bakers Association (ABA) Food Technical Regulatory Affairs Committee. "We have formed a subcommittee to develop guidelines for a good pathogen testing program that is effective and does not put our members at risk of a recall."

Here are some of the following educational sessions to help prepare yourself and your company for the changes:

FSMA: What does it mean for bakers?
Teleconference on Jan. 26 at 1 p.m. CST
Price: free

This special call-in conference will provide an overview on the practical aspects of the new law and how it will impact the baking industry. Experts from the law firm as well as from the American Bakers Association and AIB International will be present to prevent technical and key policy information, as well as answer questions at the end of the call. Contact ABA at www.americanbakers.org or dshaw@americanbakers.org for more information.

A Practical Approach to Preparing for the Food Safety Modernization Act
Webinar on Jan. 28 at 11 a.m. CST
Price: $129

Dr. Cliff Pappas, AIB International's senior advisor for quality and HACPP, will take webinar attendees through the sections of the regulations he and AIB think will have the most immediate impact for food facilities. The webinar promises to "provide some practical information on what you should do today to prepare for these changes."

US Regulatory Summit
Meeting at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill, Washington, DC
Feb. 3, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Price: $325 for AACC International members; $355 for nonmembers

AACC International invites vice presidents, directors, managers and specialists for US and global food and beverage manufacturing companies and allied suppliers to attend this one-day meeting and receive guidance "to navigate the changing regulations for food manufacturing and marketing based on the 2011 congressional agenda." The event will be led by Barbara Bufe Heidolph, principal, ICL performance products, and will feature presentations by Michael Taylor, FDA deputy commissioner for food, and Audrey Rowe, deputy administrator for special nutrition, USDA.

Implications of the New Food Safety Legislation
Webcast available on demand
Price: Free for IFT members; $49 for nonmembers

On Jan. 7, the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) held a forum in Washington, DC, to discuss the FSMA's impact on the industry. More than 500 people attended both in person and via webcast to learn about the critical implications of the FSMA legislation from presenters David Acheson, Managing Director, Leavitt Partners; John Bode, Olson Frank Weeda Terman Bode Matz P.C; Robert E. Brackett, Illinois Institute of Technology; and Anthony T. Pavel, Partner, K&L Gates. Focusing on product tracing, performance standards, third-party certification and preventive control plans, the webcast is now available on demand from IFT's website.

"Food safety is not a competitive advantage, Mr. Heflich said. "A failure at any facility impacts all of us."

For more information about the new food safety legislation, look for the February 2011 issue of Baking & Snack, coming soon.

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