AFFI Kicks Off Food Safety Education Month with Resources and Programming to Drive Frozen Fruit Safety

By: Dr. Donna Garren, Executive Vice President of Science and Policy, American Frozen Food Institute

In recognition of September being Food Safety Education Month, I’m excited to take a moment and provide an update on some of the new resources and activities from AFFI to help promote frozen fruit safety.

Providing Personnel Certification in Enteric Virus Control

AFFI is pleased to announce the launch of its new Enteric Virus Control Specialist certificate program designed specifically for fresh and frozen fruit growers, packers, processors, re-packers, importers and distributors. Created in partnership with the International Food Protection Training Institute, this addition to AFFI’s Food Safety Zone equips organizations with a new training resource to help advance food safety practices on their production farms and within their processing facilities.

The Enteric Virus Control Specialist certificate program includes a five-course training, after which participants will be formally recognized as a specialist designated to control enteric viruses on farms or within facilities. Each course addresses unique and informative topics, including:

  • Overview of enteric viruses: Understanding the basics of foodborne norovirus and hepatitis A virus and the fundamentals for prevention and control of these viruses
  • Worker health and hygiene: Key practices growers, producers and processors can take to prevent the spread of enteric viruses from employees to food
  • Controlled use of water: How to conduct a water source risk assessment and the importance of water quality used for irrigation, washing produce and processing
  • Equipment and tools: The risks associated with and relevance of sanitizing equipment and tools
  • Waste management: Hygienic waste management practices that reduce risk of contamination

Based on AFFI’s Enteric Viruses Control Program, the Control Specialist certificate program represents a comprehensive set of best food safety practices to prevent and control the spread of potential enteric virus contamination in frozen fruit production and processing environments. By equipping your facility with a certified Enteric Virus Control Specialist, your personnel can better understand, self-assess, and identify critical areas to implement and improve food safety programs. Visit the Enteric Virus Control Specialist certificate program webpage today to learn more about the training bundle and individual course options. The Spanish language version of the Enteric Virus Control Specialist certificate program will be available in the coming months.

Addressing the Science of Enteric Viruses and Policy Implications at the Food Safety Forum

On September 21, AFFI and the International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA) will bring together global research experts, industry professionals and food safety policy leaders to discuss the science and policy implications of finding non-cultivable foodborne pathogens – including enteric viruses and protozoan parasites – in food. At the 2022 Food Safety Forum, speakers will discuss the latest science, identify key methodological and interpretive distinctions between non-cultivable and bacterial pathogens, and highlight potential regulatory policies and guidance to support prevention and control strategies.

Free to attend, this year’s event will help food safety professionals:

  • Gain insights into the current science of non-cultivable foodborne pathogens: Throughout the event, experts from around the world will join to discuss the latest science, identify key methodological and interpretive distinctions between non-cultivable and bacterial pathogens, and potential regulatory policies and guidance to support prevention and control strategies.
  • Understand the implications of these pathogens in your organization’s food safety program: With a science-driven discussion of non-cultivable foodborne pathogens, you’ll be equipped with information to help guide your organization’s own internal food safety program. This event, paired with the best practices and resources found in the AFFI Food Safety Zone, can assist in guiding your company’s own procedures.
  • Learn how industry, regulatory and public health organizations can address risks: At the conclusion of the event, a panel of industry, academic and regulatory experts will connect the science, regulatory policy and public health implications of these pathogens. Food safety and regulatory professionals can use this information to outline strategies to address public health risks associated with non-cultivable pathogens such as enteric viruses in our food system.

Learn more about this year’s Food Safety Forum and join us September 21 for the discussion on food safety and policy.

Whether through programming that can help support your organization’s food safety programs, or certificate programs that help your staff be equipped to drive positive food safety outcomes, AFFI offers a range of resources to support a culture of food safety. 

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