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Symposium to Discuss Defending the Food Supply

PULLMAN, Wash. — Recent national outbreaks of Salmonella linked to lettuce and tomatoes and E. coli from bagged spinach highlight the challenges of protecting the food supply from accidental contamination. But the food industry is also mindful of the need for systems to protect against the potential for intentional contamination.

Two nationally known food security experts will conduct a training on strategies for protecting the food supply from farm to table at the upcoming Food Defense Awareness Symposium being sponsored by the Lewis & Clark Section of Institute of Food Technologists.

The symposium will be held from 2 p.m. until 8 p.m. on Thursday, November 16, at the Chandler Reach Vineyards, 9506 West Chandler Road in Benton City.

“We really encourage anyone involved with the food supply to come learn about strategies they can use to help protect against accidental or intentional food contamination,” said Karen Killinger Mann, Washington State University Extension Food Safety Specialist and IFT member. “Our featured speakers will discuss strategies and provide training that can be applied whether you’re a grower, a processor, a grocer or working in food service.”

The featured speakers are Frank Busta, director of the National Center for Food Protection and Defense, and emeritus professor of microbiology at the University of Minnesota; and Cory Bryant, Senior Research Scientist for the Institute of Food Technologists in Washington D.C.

Busta’s Center for Food Protection and Defense is one of six U.S. Department of Homeland Security Centers of Excellence, created to address agro-security issues related to post-harvest food protection. He has been its director since its inception in 2004.

Bryant is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Maryland’s Department of Food Science and Nutrition. In his position with IFT he is currently overseeing contracts with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to develop and present training on food defense for the industry, and to develop software for the industry to help with surveillance. The software will be demonstrated at the symposium.

Busta and Bryant will discuss food terrorism, and conduct interactive training on identifying and protecting against vulnerabilities in the food supply chain. Those who complete the training will receive food defense certification from the national IFT.

The symposium and training is open to anyone interested. The cost is
$20 for IFT members, $25 for non-members and $15 for students and includes a buffet dinner. Reservations should be made by Nov. 10..

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