In mid-October, Birko exhibited at the Produce Marketing Association Fresh Summit 2014 where more than 22,400 members of the produce industry gathered. In addition to record attendance, this year’s annual Fresh Summit also topped the charts with an impressive 1,090 exhibiting companies. Birko was excited to return to the expo floor this year where we displayed our equipment and chemistry products for cleaning and sanitizing produce facilities. Also on hand were Birko’s “Nasty Characters,” Sal Monella, E. Coli and Liz Teria, who were spotted wandering the expo floor.
As usual, the time at PMA was a whirlwind of events and meetings. With the recent re-proposal of several FSMA rules, food safety is on everybody’s mind. FDA’s Michael Taylor, deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine, and Samir Assar, Ph.D., director of the produce safety staff, were on-hand for an educational session, “Recent FSMA Proposals and Their Impact on Business.” The session focused on changes included in the recent release of four supplemental proposals. The entire produce industry is anxiously waiting to see what the FDA will do when they finalize the FSMA rules sometime next year. As a PMA Gold-Circle Contributor, Birko is always standing by to help provide food safety solutions to meet its members’ guidelines.
On Thursday I had the chance to rotate back onto the PMA Science & Technology Committee along with our own Dr. Elis Owens, senior chemist/microbiologist for Birko. The committee meeting focused on a number of industry topics related to food safety. Of course FSMA and the latest proposals were of particular interest to the group and were discussed in great detail.
Saturday night, I was recognized by Produce Business Magazine as a member of the 2014 40-under-40 class during their annual awards reception. Also Saturday night, Birko sponsored the Science and Technology Reception, which allowed industry leaders to meet to discuss a variety of topics related to both technology and food safety. This was a great networking opportunity for the food safety, technology and supply chain sectors of the produce industry.
It is hard to believe that another PMA Fresh Summit has already come and gone, but we will look forward to seeing everybody again next year in Atlanta. In the meantime, as another way to stay in touch, please subscribe to Birko’s Produce Safety Dispatch, a free quarterly newsletter for the produce industry. In this newsletter, Birko and other industry experts share insights on fighting pathogens as well as industry trends and research.