It was great to be back in the Windy City last month with the Birko team for the United Fresh 2014 show, where I was able to catch up with new and old friends alike. On the first day of the event, Dr. Elis Owens and I attended the Food Safety & Technology Council Meeting where a variety of presentations were given on produce and food safety. Topics included “The Reportable Food Registry,” “Produce Safety Alliance,” and “Sprout Safety.” The United Fresh Opening Night party at Millennium Park was a good time with plenty of good food, despite the rainy weather. Whenever I am in Chicago, I always try to sample some of the great local food, and this trip was no exception.
The morning the show opened I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I had been named to Produce Business Magazine’s 2014 class of 40 under 40. I am very honored to receive this industry recognition and look forward to the awards reception later this year.
On the trade show floor at McCormick Place, Birko was back as an exhibitor again this year. We showcased some of our Chad Equipment including the Blend-on-site System (BOSS), Conveyorized Antimicrobial Spray System and our Entryway Foamer units. Of course we also provided visitors plenty of information about our complete line of antimicrobial interventions, sanitizers and biofilm remediation aids including our recently released new product, Wax-Oft. Wax-Oft is a specialty cleaner formulated to remove fruit and vegetable waxes from conveyors brushes and other processing equipment.
At the end of the first day of the trade show, Birko hosted a Food Safety Reception as a way for folks to relax with food, drink and conversation. Our produce food safety experts were on hand to answer questions, and many people I talked to were eager to discuss the pending FSMA rules on Produce Safety and Preventive Controls. While FSMA is not necessarily new at this point, people are still fully engaged in the rule-making process as they look at how the controls will affect their individual operations. Of course, this is an area where Birko’s 60+ years of food safety experience provides an expert resource to the industry.
Possibly the most exciting part of United Fresh this year was the introduction of Birko’s Nasty Characters, Sal Monella, Liz Teria, and E. coli! Show attendees were able to meet them in person and have pictures taken. We look forward to having these nasty characters help Birko raise awareness about the chaos microbes can cause in produce operations. Of course, Birko is there to help eliminate and prevent them from becoming a problem; just call or e-mail us to find out how!
I look forward to seeing you all again next year at the 2015 United Fresh Show.