Texas Food Safety Conference planned

03/20/2013 03:10:00 PM
Pamela Riemenschneider

With several broad-reaching food safety issues on the horizon for the fresh produce industry, Texas producers are getting together to discuss how this affects the Lone Star State.

The Texas Vegetable Association put together the semi-annual Texas Food Safety Conference 2013, planned for April 22-23 at the Sheraton Austin at the Capitol. This is a follow-up to the Mission-based group’s 2011 conference.

“We had in mind all along that we would do something on an as-needed basis, but not necessarily every year,” said Ray Prewett, executive vice president of the Texas Vegetable Association. “We’ll be talking about the produce food safety rules that are out.”

Prewett said the timing is perfect for the conference, which precedes the end of comment periods for the two pending FDA food safety rules.

“We do see this conference laying the groundwork for getting some feedback for the industry for comments on these proposed rules,” he said. “This will give us time to develop our comments.”

Speakers on the preliminary agenda include Jeff Lucas of Quanta Labs and IEH Laboratories, Trevor Suslow from the Center for Produce Safety at the University of California-Davise and Juan Anciso from the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Center.

An appearance by Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples is planned.

“Our core audience is growers and shippers,” Prewett said, “but we are inviting a lot of people in the supply chain. This is open to all segments of the produce industry. Plans haven’t been finalized, but we’re also looking at having retail participation.”

Early registration for the hotel block ends March 30. Those interested can visit the Texas Food Safety Conference event website. An exposition floor also is planned for food safety vendors concurrent with the conference.

Prewett said the group plans to meet following the conference to discuss pending healthcare reform rules and how they will affect the Texas produce industry. That is a separate event, still in the planning stages.



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