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Top Experts to Lead UFFVA Food Safety, Security Sessions

Washington, DC -- The United Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Association will offer an expert-led, comprehensive food safety and security conference as part of the all-access Produce Convention Package at the 2005 United Produce Show being held concurrent with the Food Marketing Institute's annual convention, April 30-May 3 in Chicago.

Taking a detailed look at the most important food safety and security issues affecting the produce industry, the daylong conference will offer expert advice on foodservice and retail expectations, insider analyses of the latest government regulations, and new technologies to boost safety and protect the supply chain.

"Food safety and security have long been top priorities for United, and the livelihood of the produce industry depends on the safety and reliability of our products," said Donna Garren, v.p., scientific/technical affairs for the trade group.

The food safety and security conference kicks off on Saturday, April 30, with two sessions: "Exceeding Customer Expectations," led by an expert panel of produce insiders, exploring how foodservice and retail operators can surpass their customers' expectations regarding food safety; and "Food Security: Are You at Risk," a discussion of the newest tools that industry and regulatory agencies are developing to help assess risks and prevent a potential food security breach.

Conference attendees then join a panel of industry leaders led by United president Tom Stenzel, for the association's annual outlook luncheon session, examining the issues driving today's produce industry and the trends likely to shape its future.

"The lessons learned at the food safety and security conference will apply to operations at every step of the produce supply chain, and no company can afford not to stay abreast of the standards, regulations, and possible threats associated with these important issues," added Garren. "The conference will also provide attendees with a firm foundation of knowledge, as well as cutting-edge techniques to safeguard their products and services."

Session 3 -- Traceability: Tracking the Total Supply Chain, will offer expert, timely advice on global traceability systems using new technological safeguards such as RFID. Session 3 panelists include Lou Carson, deputy director for FSI, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, FDA; Pat Kelly, director of quality assurance, Grimmway Farms; Chuck Orman, director, science/technology, research technical services, Sunkist Growers; and Tom Casas, v.p. of information technology, Tanimura & Antle.

Session 4 -- The Newest Regulatory and Food Safety Initiatives, which will feature industry experts including Donna Garren; Trevor Suslow, cooperative extension specialist, UC-Davis; and Drew McDonald, v.p., national quality systems, Taylor Farms California, Inc., who will lead an interactive review of the new FDA Produce Safety Action Plan, current produce industry food safety initiatives, and the latest details on food safety guidance and audits.
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