New Training and Workshops Expand AFFI’s Food Safety Commitment and Leadership

The American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) collaborates with multiple partners to advance food safety in the frozen food and beverage industry. Evidence-based best practices that can be implemented at all stages of the food supply chain — growing, processing, distribution, and preparation — help prevent foodborne illness and promote public health objectives.

The Food Safety Zone, AFFI’s comprehensive site launched in 2019, provides resources and information to assist the frozen food industry, including processors and ingredient suppliers, develop their food safety initiatives and programs.

Equipping the frozen food industry with knowledge and best practices to improve food safety practices and inform risk-based regulatory issues remains a top priority for AFFI.

Continue reading to learn about the latest additions and core components of AFFI’s robust food safety programs.

Importer and Foreign Manufacturer Compliance under FSMA: Regulatory Compliance and Fundamental Food Safety Training Workshop

The most recent addition to the AFFI suite of science-based food safety programs is the Importer Regulatory Compliance and Fundamental Food Safety Training Workshop. Designed for foreign manufacturers and importers serving the United States, this three-day program is scheduled for Wednesday, February 22, through Friday, February 24, 2023, adjacent to AFFI-CON 2023. The program is open to AFFI members and non-members interested in minimizing their risks and liabilities when providing food ingredients for the United States marketplace.

Training is essential for importers and their foreign manufacturers to understand the foundational elements of ensuring a robust food safety program and regulatory obligations in the United States under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). In this special workshop, Dr. Donna Garren, Executive Vice President of Science and Policy for AFFI, and Dr. Lory Reveil, Senior Director of Scientific and Regulatory Affairs at AFFI, will review the requirements of the U.S. regulatory system and food safety essentials when a manufacturer or importer is entering the United States. AFFI’s General Counsel, Elizabeth Fawell (Hogan Lovells), will also make sure importers understand the liabilities associated with importing food to the U.S.

Preventing and Controlling Hepatitis A

AFFI’s Enteric Viruses Control Specialist Certificate Program, developed by subject matter experts and food safety professionals, is a comprehensive, five-course training program to prevent enteric viruses such as norovirus and hepatitis A in the frozen food supply chain. The program is designed for berry growers, frozen fruit processors, and re-packers who perform work in growing, harvesting, and processing produce.  Participants who complete the five-course certificate program will be formally recognized as an expert designated to control Enteric Viruses within their facilities.

This certificate program, created in partnership with the International Food Protection Training Institute, is based on the Enteric Viruses Control Program, devised by the AFFI Frozen Fruit Working Group, and encompasses key areas: good agricultural practices (GAPs), facility/processing operations, worker health and hygiene, water management, and waste management.

Preventing and Controlling Listeria Monocytogenes

The AFFI Listeria Control Program (LCP) is one of the organization’s core food safety programs. It was launched in 2019 to help frozen food manufacturers prevent and control Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) through the integration of the latest science and food safety practices.

In addition to this free, online tool for Lm prevention and control, AFFI also offers the Listeria Control Specialist Certificate Program. Created in partnership with the International Food Protection Training Institute, this program is designed for food safety management professionals in food manufacturing facilities who want to acquire expert-level knowledge to control Lm within their facilities. The course also benefits regulatory officials, sanitation and quality professionals, and construction and maintenance contractors.

Facilitating Scientific Collaboration

In addition to promoting manufacturing and training programs within the industry, AFFI continues to facilitate collaboration and exchange of the latest science in food safety to help inform sound policy.

For example, AFFI launched the inaugural Food Safety Forum in 2021 in partnership with the Food Industry Association, International Dairy Foods Association, National Fisheries Institute, and Produce Marketing Association. The forum brought more than 700 global research experts, industry professionals, and food safety policy leaders together to discuss the latest science in Lm.

The 2022 event focused on non-cultivable foodborne pathogens such as enteric viruses (including hepatitis A and norovirus). Co-hosted with the International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA), the event explored the detection methods related to foodborne non-cultivable pathogens, their limitations, and how current science can be used to support risk-based regulations and public health policy.

Food Safety Remains a Top Priority at AFFI 

AFFI remains committed to delivering resources that help frozen food processors identify potential food safety issues and elevate food safety across the supply chain. This continued commitment to building effective, science-based training programs helps ensure that stringent processes and precautions are implemented at all stages of the food supply chain to ensure a safe and delicious meal.

In addition to its diligence to actively further food safety, AFFI provides advocacy to support the interests of the frozen food industry and valuable business insights, including market research, to help companies grow. Become a member today and enjoy AFFI’s vast member benefits.

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