The conference theme - ‘Doubling Down on Listeria’ - provided informative educational programming on the topic of Listeria monocytogenes (Lm), a harmful bacteria that can hide in many foods like dairy products and produce. Our own Food Safety Solutions Engineer Bryan Cohn shared his thoughts on the programming after attending this inaugural Leadership Conference.
“I had the pleasure of introducing conference sessions that focused on communicating with consumers aboutfood safety,”explains Cohn. “Consumer education is one component of AFFI’s multi-pronged listeria strategy, but there is a delicate balance between educating and alarming the public. AFFI’s Adrienne Seiling and Eric Davis of FLM Harvest shared food safety education resources and ideas on how to effectively strike this balance. Then, Dr. Ben Chapman of NC State University discussed consumer habits, explaining that what consumers say versus what they actually do when handling and preparing food safely are often not the same. He shared how the food industry can use food safety messaging to improve communications with consumers.”
During the leadership conference, AFFI also provided an overview of the lessons learned and global regulatory implications from high-profile listeria outbreaks in Europe and South Africa. Listeriosis is a serious infection usually caused by eating food contaminated with this bacterium.
According to the CDC, an estimated 1,600 people get listeriosis each year, and about 260 die. Pregnant women and their newborns, adults aged 65 or older, and people with weakened immune systems are most susceptible to the infection. In 2018, there were two multistate foodborne outbreak investigations involving Listeria, and both were related to pork products.
AFFI Announces New Frozen Food Safety Protocols
Newly developed frozen food safety protocols were unveiled at this year’s inaugural event, which are the result of the expertise and collaboration of the scientific professionals within AFFI’s Food Safety Working Group. The AFFI Leadership Conference also announced the launch of AFFI’s new website, TheFood Safety Zone, dedicated to food safety resources, research and best practices.