The OFPA Board of Directors met on the 15th Dec for the final meeting of 2015. The board has undergone a roller coaster ride in 2015 but has come through stronger for the experience. From left to right; Greg Vallee (outgoing), Keith Warriner (outgoing), Tatiana Koutchma (Website and social media), Shirley Chalouh (Membership), Martha Palomar (Awards), Lynne Fruhner (ougoing), Azadeh Namvar (Executive), Angela Bernoski (scholarship), Katherine Di Tommaso (Vice-President), Andrew Sweet (Membership) and Moustapha Oke (President). Wishing all out members a Happy Holiday and look forward to a productive 2016.
These past six months have been the most unpredictable I remember during my time with the OFPA Board of Directors. We’ve suffered great loss in the sudden passing of our Vice President, Clive Kingsbury, whose shoes I was both honoured and terrified to fill.
This was followed closely by the unexpected departure of our 2015 President, Peter Stein from Pillers Fine Foods. The OFPA benefitted greatly from Peter’s broad scope of experience, unfettered enthusiasm, leadership and passion in all of the positions he held with the board. We wish Peter continued success in his future adventures in Nova Scotia. Peter took our Golf Tournament to new heights in recent years and I do so hope to see many of you there next week on June 10th. As we move forward into 2015, I’m grateful for Peter agreeing to stay on as Past President in an advisory role. Most recently, Mike Byerley has also resigned as the Newsletter Editor to focus on his growing business. All the best to Peter and Mike!
We have an exciting 18 months of change ahead for the OFPA and food related industries in Ontario. The OFPA website overhaul, not unlike any IT project you’ve probably experienced, is progressing, albeit at a slower pace than any of us would like. On-line registration is now up and running. We’ve refined our LinkedIn and Twitter profiles and strive to continually improve our communications with you. We’re now proudly collaborating with the NSF-GFTC in Guelph to provide excellence in programming and awareness for our member organizations. We’ve been experimenting with the meeting floorplans to bring the best possible format to meet both participant and exhibitor needs.
Let’s be frank, our membership numbers have been depleting for nearly ten years now; no doubt a reflection of the global financial situation, leading to organizational cutbacks both in staffing and resources for your professional activity dollars.
Fortunately there is good news in response to this ongoing challenge.
There is no easier way to get face time with clients, government contacts, suppliers and your peers than at one of OFPA’s three annual meetings. The return on your training dollar compared to similar local meetings and symposia is far greater. In 2015 we’re focussed on bringing you even more information on new technologies, regulatory changes and food safety information.
Why is this important? Our careers demand that we keep up with our ever changing world.
Fraudulent activitiesin the food industry continue to be uncovered, demonstrating the risk it poses not just to your weekly grocery bill but also to the long-term safety of the dinner you put on the table. Who can forget the melamine contamination of baby formula and pet food? Bacterial and chemical contamination of foods and the environment such as Listeria, iodine, and neonicotinoid residues continue to find new ways to challenge us.
For the first time we are seeing criminal charges laid against companies and their executives involved in food contamination cases, such as the charges laid against a subsidiary of Conagra related to peanut butter tainted with Salmonella.
Regulatory changes, included in the American Food Safety Modernization Act and the Safe Food for Canadians Act, continue to be implemented over time, creating ongoing challenges for our food processors, retailers, and suppliers.
If the predictions are accurate, by 2050, the world is going to be facing some of it’s most difficult challenges in food security globally. What happens in the next 10 to 20 years can impact the magnitude of this challenge. This generation of food producers, processors, suppliers, regulators and scientists has a rare opportunity to impact far into the future and leave a lasting legacy in the process.
All of these challenges are of interest to us at the OFPA and we know to you as well. I look forward to seeing you at our upcoming events and as always welcome your feedback toward providing sessions that bring you the highest value for your investment.
See you on the 10th!