May/June 2024

Upcoming conference to spotlight frozen food safety
By Melinda Waldrop, Managing Editor

Food safety professionals from across the country will converge on Arlington, Virginia, this fall for the 13th annual Food Safety Consortium.

The event, set for Oct. 20-22, will bring together leading food safety and quality assurance professionals to learn about cutting-edge food and beverage production innovation. The program begins with pre-conference workshops and training, which leads into two days of high-level panel discussions and educational presentations.

Food Safety Tech magazine and The American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) are teaming up at the event to elevate industry standards and explore scientific and regulatory developments impacting food safety.

The 13th annual Food Safety Consortium will bring together leading food safety and quality assurance professionals to learn about cutting-edge food and beverage production innovation Oct. 20-22 in Arlington, Virginia. Photo courtesy of Food Safety Tech.

“AFFI’s longstanding history of advancing food safety practices across the frozen value chain through scientific research, innovation, education and training is unparalleled,” Alison Bodor, AFFI president and CEO, said in a news release. “Our collaboration with Food Safety Tech for The Food Safety Consortium exemplifies AFFI’s steadfast commitment to cultivating a food safety culture and building a community among our member companies and the broader food industry that empowers employees to make critical food safety decisions and take preventive actions that reduce the odds of their facilities becoming a recall statistic.”

The Food Safety Consortium’s 2024 agenda includes educational sessions on topics such as innovative environmental monitoring for Listeria monocytogenes detection, food safety auditor training, and strategies to prepare for and achieve FSMA 204 compliance.

Jim Jones, deputy commissioner for Human Foods at the Food and Drug Administration, will discuss the agency’s recent organizational changes and key regulatory policies.

Attendees can also learn more about the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service operations as well as how to strengthen the food supply chain.

Traceability, internal auditing, accreditation and food fraud will also be addressed in educational sessions and workshops.

Early bird registration is available until June 30. More information is available at

Food Safety Tech is an online journal and newsletter providing insight on food safety, quality assurance and regulatory compliance to food manufacturers and processors, retail and food service providers, food laboratories, growers, suppliers and vendors, and regulatory agencies.

“Our partnership with AFFI is a significant enhancement to the Food Safety Consortium Conference,” Rick Biros, publisher of Food Safety Tech and director of the Food Safety Consortium, said in the release. “AFFI’s commitment to food safety and professional education will provide attendees with an unparalleled opportunity to enhance their learning, connect with regulators, industry leaders and ultimately better serve their organizations and end users.”

AFFI is a national trade association representing all segments of the frozen food supply chain from manufacturers to suppliers and distributors. Its members include the fruit and vegetable growers, suppliers and distributors that account for more than 670,000 U.S. jobs, according to the organization’s website.

Founded in 1942 and headquartered in McLean, Virginia, AFFI advocates before legislative and regulatory entities on the industry’s behalf.

The 13th annual Food Safety Consortium, set for Oct. 20-22, will bring together leading food safety and quality assurance professionals to learn about cutting-edge food and beverage production innovation. Image: File


Last month, frozen food industry leaders gathered in Washington, D.C., for AFFI’s 2024 Government Action Summit. Attendees called for Congress to support science-based regulatory decision-making from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and passage of the Supporting All Healthy Options When Purchasing Produce (SHOPP) Act.

“Virtually every household in the United States enjoys frozen food, and America’s frozen food processors work diligently to provide the safe, nutritious and high-quality foods that families expect,” Bodor said. “The Government Action Summit is the opportunity for our membership to collectively voice the industry’s call for practical, science- based policies that will both benefit consumers and allow for future innovation and growth.”

Industry leaders focused on three key policy issues during the April 11 summit:

  • Federally managed chemical review process: AFFI asked that Congress appropriately fund the FDA’s Human Foods Program and Office of Chemical Safety in its function dedicated to post-market chemical review, thus supporting an effective and uniform federal approach to chemical and ingredient review.
  • Science-driven listeria policy: AFFI asked that Congress require the FDA to incorporate the latest available science regarding Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) as the agency updates its Compliance Policy Guide. Science demonstrates that frozen foods do not support the growth of Lm, and thus the pathogen poses a remote public health risk in such foods, according to AFFI.
  • SHOPP Act: AFFI called for passage of the SHOPP Act, which would amend and modernize the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP) and Produce Prescription Program to include more frozen fruits and vegetables.

“Whether through reduced food waste thanks to its longer shelf life, delicious new offerings and global flavors, or array of better-for-you recipes, frozen food provides valuable benefits to consumers,” Bodor said. “AFFI is pleased to bring its membership to Congress to further tell this story and engage in the policymaking process.”

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