We just arrived home from Portland, the host city of the International Association of Food Protection Annual Meeting 2015 and Voodoo Doughnuts. As I reflected on the ride home, several highlights and trends became apparent:
- International. This meeting increasingly represents our global food supply. I heard great presentations from professionals from Dubai and Europe, Hong Kong was announced as a new affiliate, and I learned much about 20 years of the WTO and food safety.
- Big data and metagenomics are hot topics. The volume, variety, and velocity of data readily available and new tools to handle the data provide new opportunities to improve food safety and defense. Heads Up: NCFPD will have more on big data this fall!
- Commitment. The genuine commitment to improving the safety of the global food supply is evident as you listen to the questions being posed and participation in “on the spot” forums where brainstorming to overcome challenges happens. I am always amazed at the number of 40-year members that stand up on opening night.
- The future is in good hands. Wow, there is an amazing amount of talent in our young professionals and students. Spending only a few minutes with these bright minds and you see not only their passion but also their expertise and energy for this work. If you have time, go online to the IAFP meeting agenda, click on the poster sessions and you can access the impressive abstracts.
- Pride. NCFPD is so proud of our consortium. Thanks to everyone for representing our work so well: Alan Erera, Sylvia Vetrone, Lili He, Karen Everstine, Emma Hartnett, Meg Rush, Mark Kazmierczak, Alvin Lee, John Larkin and my big data team.
Lastly, I would like to give a shout out to two incredibly important and very special people on our team: Dr. Frank Busta and Mr. Gale Prince. Frank presented this year’sJohn H. Silliker Lecture and Gale received the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
This meeting set the agenda for work in the coming year and we look forward to partnering with you. Want to know more about any of the work we presented? Got a great idea for a presentation for the 2016 IAFP meeting? Give a holler!
MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR
Amy Kircher, DrPH is the Director of the National Center for Food Protection and Defense, A Homeland Security Center of Excellence. Follow Dr. Kircher on Twitter @FoodDefender for the latest news and information on what is happening in the food protection and defense world!