Public Release: 

Top Experts To Address Top Food Safety Concerns At IFT Meeting

Institute of Food Technologists

CHICAGO -- Listeria monocytogenes. Escherichia coli O157:H7. Antibiotic-resistant pathogens. Mad cow disease. What is the latest research on these topics? How is the food sector addressing them? One can find out at IFT's 1999 Annual Meeting.

American and Canadian experts on food microbiology and policy will convene for "Listeria monocytogenes: Scientific and Regulatory Issues from a National and International Perspective" (Symposium 57, July 27, 9 AM) to discuss the pathogen's characteristics, impact of regulatory policies of various countries that seek to control L. monocytogenes, risk of U.S. consumers getting foodborne listeriosis, and risk assessment of the pathogen and its significance in the global food supply. Where L. monocytogenes may lurk and why "zero tolerance" policies may not be effective will be included in this discussion.

"Stressed Pathogens Compromise the Safety of New Generation Foods: Assessment and Control of Pathogens" (Symposium 43, July 26, 1:30 PM) will examine measures to prevent pathogens exposed to stress from becoming resistant to microbial controls and human body defenses. Strategies for dealing with virulent pathogens that have developed resistance to various causes of stress, such as acidity, high pressure, and antimicrobials, will also be covered.

"Pathogen Update: Improving the Safety of Muscle Foods" (Symposium 71, July 27, 1:30 PM) will provide the latest information about mad cow disease, antimicrobial-resistant foodborne pathogens, the use of competitive exclusion to control Salmonella in poultry, strategies to prevent pathogens from developing antimicrobial resistance, E. coli O157:H7 in fermented sausages, and U.S. regulatory policy concerning L. monocytogenes. Ways to keep mad cow disease out of U.S. livestock, the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System, Salmonella typhimurium DT104, and pros and cons of subtherapeutic use of antimicrobials in livestock will be topics of emphasis.

"Food Safety is Good Business: What's Time and Temperature Got to Do With it?" (Special Forum 1, July 25, 9 AM), hosted by the IFT/National Restaurant Association Strategic Alliance, will address the relationship of time and temperature to safe food handling for restaurateurs and food retailers. Panelists will cover time and temperature parameters of the 1999 FDA Food Code; use of these specifications versus microbial performance standards; use of computer technology to assess microbial risks; and communication strategies with employees and suppliers to ensure safe food handling. State-of-the-art temperature recording and monitoring systems for cooking, reheating, cooling, and storing foods will also be presented by industry leaders.

"Food Allergens: Current Issues and Future Developments" (Special Forum 9, July 28, 9 AM) will discuss commercially available methods for detecting common food allergens, such as peanuts and eggs, and the development of test kits for casein, almonds, soy, whey, clams, hazelnuts, and walnuts. The legal, financial, and health issues related to the presence of unlabeled allergens in food products will be covered along with a history of allergen test development and explanation of today's most advanced methods for allergen testing (ELISA and microscopy techniques), ways a laboratory tests food samples for allergens, and tools some major food manufacturers use to inform their employees about allergens.

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Founded in 1939, IFT is a non-profit scientific society with 28,000 members working in food science, technology and related professions in industry, academia and government. As the society for food science and technology, IFT brings sound science to the public discussion of food issues.


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