Jan 14, 2022
2022 Western Food Safety Conference announces lineup

The Western Food Safety Conference on May 4-5, 2022, will present an outstanding lineup of leaders, experts and innovators from the world of fresh produce safety, with a hybrid format to optimize networking and global access.

The 17th annual conference focused on “The Culture of Food Safety,” will once again be presented face-to-face on the Hartnell College campus, while using the latest in internet video production to welcome attendees who for whatever reason can’t be there in person.

The “culture” theme will micro-focus in such areas as managing food safety in today’s market and planning for the future.

Early-bird registration is available through Feb. 28 for $250, including lunches both days, a $45 savings off the full price of $295 after that date. Proceeds from the conference support scholarships for agricultural students at Hartnell, raising more than $100,000 over the years.

In addition to May 4 keynote speaker Bruce Taylor, chairman and CEO of Salinas-based Taylor Farms, the two-day program will feature 10 additional speakers and three panels on such areas as managing COVID-19, ag water regulation, Cyclosporas outbreaks and the “digital farmer.”

Here are some additional highlights:

  • Following Taylor’s speech, a panel of Joe Pezzini, senior director of agricultural operations for Taylor Farms; Tim York, CEO of the California Leafy Greens Agreement; and Dennis Donohue, director of the Western Growers Center for Innovation & Technology will discuss “The Evolution of a Food Safety Culture.”
  • Before lunch on May 4, Channah Rock, a professor and water quality specialist with the University of Arizona Department of Environmental Science will speak on the 90-day comment period for proposed changes in ag water regulation.
  • To close the first day, Bonnie Fernandez-Fenaroli, executive director of the Center for Produce Safety, will present on produce safety research and its application to today’s operations.
  • On the second day, May 5, keynote speaker David Ingram, consumer safety officer for the FDA’s Office of Food Safety, Division of Produce Safety, will present on compost – “Balancing a Health Soils Program into Your Food Safety Program.”
  • Just before lunch, Natalie Krout-Greenberg of the California Department of Food and Agriculture will join Norm Groot of the Monterey County Farm Bureau to discuss the “Good Agricultural Neighbors Initiative.”
  • The afternoon will include talks by Walt Duflock, vice president of innovation at Western Growers; Nicole Flewell, director of sustainability at Taylor Farms; and Chris Valadez, president of the Grower-Shipper Association.

“We pride ourselves on setting the bar very high for this conference, and we’ve stayed true to that standard with this impressive group of presenters,” said conference chair Jess Hogg, quality assurance manager for Scheid Family Wines in Greenfield. “In fact, our hybrid format will allow us to include more expertise than ever – and also to receive thoughtful questions from our in-person and online audiences.”

To learn more about the 17th  Annual Western Food Safety Conference and register to attend, visit the event website at https://thewesternfoodsafetyconference.com/.

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