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Fresh Summit 2013: Focus on Food Safety

The Produce Marketing Association’s 2013 Fresh Summit Convention & Expo kicks off today in New Orleans, a chance to celebrate the produce and floral industries.

It won’t be all fun and games, however, as developments in food safety in the past year are sure to be top of mind for many.

After many delays, the Food and Drug Administration finally released three of the major proposed rules of the Food Safety Modernization Act, with serious implications for producers in the U.S. and abroad.

And while the produce industry has learned from the deadly outbreaks of recent years, there were notable failures in food safety this year. An outbreak of the cyclospora parasite that some states linked to bagged salad mixes sickened 643, while pomegranate seeds in a frozen berry mix led to 162 hepatitis A cases.

Two of Fresh Summit’s Friday educational sessions will address new takes on food safety: “Buyers and Sellers — Moving to a Food Safety Culture?” and “FSMAnia Hysteria — Debunking the Myths Swirling Around FSMA.”

I’m looking forward to learning PMA’s take on these important issues.