We had a great turnout at the 2016 Golf Tournament. 74 golfers joined us on June 28, 2016 for a beautiful sunny day of golf at Piper's Heath Golf Club in Milton.
The day started with a Technical Session on Top 10 Food Safety Developments That Could Save Your Business! Presented by Iain Wright, B.Sc. Technical Manager, NSF Training and Education Services. see Iain Wright's bio, he discussed If the food you produce is safe, your business is safe. In today’s environment it is critical that you identify and understand all food safety threats on the horizon. Only then can you establish the preventive controls that will keep your business safe.
OFPA Golf Tournament Winners
Best Score: (-6) Group 1A: Waylon Sharp, Mike Cassidy, Dominic Marner, Jack Trevors (DNF)
Most Honest Score: (+7) Group 9A: James Roper, Brian Nickerson
Golfer’s Green Closest To Pin Winner: Andrew Sweet
Hole 8 – Men’s Closest To The Pin: John Nangle
Hole 18 – Men’s Longest Drive: Scott Arnald
Hole 16 – Ladies’ Closest To The Pin: Denise Horseman
Hole 9 – Ladies’ Longest Drive: Linda Veldhuis
Putting Contest: Denise Horseman
Thank You To Our Sponsors
Gold-University of Guelph Lab Services
Silver-Continental Ingredients Canada
Abell Pest Control
University of Guelph Lab Services
Wynford Contract Cleaners
Also, thank you to Pillers Fine Foods for the sausage lunch and Pepstix, and Colonial Cookies for the cookies galore at the morning technical session.
Lastly the tournament had a lot of help for a number of OFPA Board members and volunteers, Thank You, you really made the event turn out great!
For OFPA Members Only: more information about the event can be found by in the private Members area after logging in. Not a member? Want access to the technical presentations? Join OFPA Today!
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.
November 5, 2015 - Food safety professionals from academia, government and industry descended upon the Mississauga Convention Centre on for the 57thAnnual Food Industry Symposium and Annual General Meeting. The meeting was again well attended and supported by the membership & guests. The Association again thanks all the sponsors and donators of door prizes for their continued support that makes the meeting possible.
Introducing A Bit Of Culture
The theme of this year’s meeting was food safety culture, a concept that is often talked about but no clear direction on how it can be achieved in a real-life setting. Lone Jespersen (Director Food Safety and Operations Learning Maple Leaf Foods) gave a keynote address on how food safety culture was developed following the Listeria outbreak. She entertained the audience with the long journey to establish a food safety culture and what benefits it can bring to an organization. Her presentation was followed by Richard Meldrum (Ryerson University) and Sukhman Grewal (QA Specialist, Pusateri’s Fine Foods) who provided an overview of a Food Safety Culture tool that has been developed by collaboration between Ryerson and Guelph University. The tool can be used to identify the weak points in food safety culture of an organization and how this can be improved.
Rick Wong from NFF-GFTC presented on the “New Proposed Requirements for the Nutrition Facts”. Health Canada wanted to know if the current requirements on the food labels are effective so they conducted a series of on-line consultation. And they found out that while the current label information in useful, there is room for improvement. Hence the proposed changes to the regulations that govern the information on the labels of all pre-packaged foods sold in Canada. Rick did a great job in walking us through a comparison of the current and proposed labels, pointing out the differences, what’s been added and removed, and what information has been moved to a different area on the label. A lot of detail was covered in his half hour presentation; however you are sure not to miss anything because we have the slides posted on our OFPA website!
Scholarship Presentations – A proud moment for 3 outstanding students who received scholarships from the OFPA and were honoured at this meeting – Jigna Patel from Durham College; Kaitlyn Balon from Ryerson University; and Yenny Kurniawan from George Brown College. The students had an opportunity to give a short presentation of the research they are doing.
OFPA 2015 Awards
Two nominations were submitted for each of the Award of Merit and Sanitarian- Food Safety Professional of the Year. For the former, the Award of Merit was given to Sani Marc for their continued support of events organized by the OFPA. Trophy Foods Inc were awarded the Sanitarian and Food Safety Professional of the year through outstanding performance in implementing standards that go beyond those required under SQF. Lifetime achievement award for 2015 was given to Michael Brodsky. Michael is a Past-President of the OFPA and was instrumental in the rapid growth of the association back in the late 1990’s. He also was the President of the IAFP and Past-President of AOAC International. Michael continues to support the OFPA and has moderated on the famous round-table-discussion held at the fall meetings.
It has been a turbulent (revolving door) kind of year on the OFPA board with many coming and goings. The Association had two presidents this year and both Lynne & Peter were awarded Past-Presidents Award. The final act of Lynne as Past-President was to pass the now repaired gavel to Moustapha who will be President in 2016.
Round Table Discussion
The Panel Discussion – Today’s Biggest Challenges to the Food Industry. The panel was expertly facilitated by Michael Brodsky and we had representation from academia (Dr. Richard Meldrum) and industry (Lone Jespersen, Sukhman Grewal, and Sonja Milutin). Panelists zeroed in on what they thought are the biggest challenges to the Food Industry are: need for Food Safety Culture; how industry’s push to reduce costs affects food safety; need for more effective, efficient regulations; role of 3rdparty auditors; and the need to teach food safety in the schools at an early age. It was an exhilarating panel with lots of audience participation and feedback that included comments that this was the highlight of the day!
Hot Topics of the Day
As tradition predicts, the last session of the day was devoted to discussing hot topic of the day. The audience were privileged to hear two excellent presentations by Jeff and Kathy – both considered globally recognized experts. Jeffery Farber provided an overview of lessons learnt from the past Listeria outbreaks both within Canada and beyond. Kathy, sponsored by the IAFP Speakers Program, provided an overview on her research on the growth of Listeria monocytogenes on caramel apples. Word must have got around as most retails moved candy apples to refrigeration after her research was reported in the media.
The OFPA always values feedback from its members and other attendees as this is the only way to deliver meetings of relevance. From this year’s feedback; 80% of those returning the evaluation form considered the overall meeting at satisfactory or excellent. Over 80% of respondents thought the Trade Show was good-excellent and relevant to their professional interests. Comments that will be considered in planning the next meeting included:-
More discussion on regulatory issues especially in relation to SME operations
Update on food safety research in relation to risk assessment and management
Outbreaks of the day and lessons learnt
Update and prevention of food fraud
Auditing and training
For OFPA Members Only: more information about the event, including technical presentations and papers can be found by in the private Members area after logging in. Not a member? Want access to the technical presentations? Join OFPA Today!
Dr Keith Warriner of the University of Guelph conducted 16 interviews with 16 regional CBC radio stations across Canada on Monday 31st Aug. He was asked to comment on recent research from UCDavis highlighting the low efficacy of post-harvest washing to reduce contamination on spinach Washing Spinach
Although the findings of the research simply what has been known for 20 years the news story provided an oppertunity to inform consumers what steps are being taken at primary production to ensure food safety of leafy greens and also what they can do in the home to avoid foodborne illness.
The 13th Annual Golf Tournament held at Pipers Health Club has been a regular fixture in the OFPA calendar and this year’s event was another great success. The morning technical session was delivered in partnership with NSF-GFTC with Iain Wright delivering presentations on managing the risk of food fraud and risk assessment & preventative control. Those who attended not only received updated knowledge on two of the hottest topics in the food sector but also a certificate of attendance to strengthen their professional profile.
Lunch was again provided by Pillers Meats who also sent their two energy bunnies, Pek and Angela, to help the event run smoothly. Colonial Cookies provided their irresistible cookies to sweeten the day before the intrepid golfers took to the green.
There were over 80 golfers in this year’s competition and fortunately the threatened storm that day decided to go around rather than through the course. As traditional, there were several awards throughout the day. The most prestigious award for the winning foursome threw up a surprise with the tournament favorites, Team Cassidy, were squeezed out of the top spot by Team Dunn. Honorable mention to the foursome from Abell with Mike Stanley for their effort and their support. Other competition winners were:- Longest Drive (Men) – John Klossen – Lakeshore Vegetables; Longest Drive (Women) – Daphne Nuys-Hall – OIMP; Closest to the Pin (Women) – Antoinette Graham.
The day was capped off by the tournament dinner that was appreciated by all.
Food Fraud and Organics | I received a call from a CBC producer on Thursday afternoon to see if I was willing/interested in being interviewed on a story relating to of a whistleblower spilling the beans on a company passing conventional chicken being passed as organic. The interviews were going to be on syndicate radio that essentially means speaking on local radio stations across Canada (truly from PEI to Regina). I was thinking how to approach the story as it could be sour grapes from the whistleblower who afterall had been dismissed from her position 2-3 months after the attempted organic fraud. One could argue that if she was outraged by the mislabeling she would have gone directly to the resident CFIA inspector. However, it was more likely that she knew going against the management would not prove a good career choice. Still the act of blocking the shipment of the conventional/organic combo reportedly the reason the management did dismiss her a few months later. Ironically the dismissed worker probably saved the company given that if the mislabeled product had been distributed the owner would have been faced with a $5m fine along with possible criminal prosecution (if the Safe Foods for Canadian Act was followed). In any event, one can predict the company will compensate the ex-employee and the truth will remain with the worker and company.
Aside from the issue if whistleblower protection, the story did bring up the issue relating to how easy it can be to pass conventional foods off for organic. The financial benefits are obvious given the premium price paid for organic foods. After a little research there were some alarming stories of conventional eggs being passed for organic and the story of a BC bakery using normal flour to bake organic bread. The incidence were not small and involved millions of dollars. So one would suspect that fraud on this scale would have been passed as criminal fraud and prosecution. In the end those involved had their organic certification suspended but then reinstated. A similar case in the US resulted in the owner being fined $500, 000 with two years behind bars. So we can take this as a case that food fraud in Canada is a relatively low risk activity. Yet, it would be wrong to suggest that organic farmers within Canada are out to dupe the public. I would say 99.9% of organic farmers are totally dedicated to delivering on their promise to follow the regulations to the letter. However, one would question how much fraud goes on at the processing level and even at retail it is so easy to put conventional produce in the organic section – A tomato is a tomato after all. The extent, or even if this occurs is open to speculation but opens up the further question of food fraud. We do know that food fraud is rampant in the seafood sector with over 30% being mislabeled. Does this matter given that if the consumer dosent notice then no harm done. Similar to organic, if the consumer thinks its organic then all is well given there is no added food safety risk or difference in nutrition content compared to conventional. The obvious answer is yes that it does matter given that the consumer pays the premium for organic foods. My comment in the interview was more along the lines let people enjoy organics if it makes them happy. I still standby this view given the lack of actual nutritional benefits derived from organics. In terms of the economics, we can look at a diverse range of commodities with outrageous markups- water and cheese being two.
After one interview the radio presenter mentioned that the comments made would stirrup a hornet’s nest of trouble. Interestingly, the comments returned did not focus on the nutrition or safety of organics over conventional but aspects of environmental sustainability and animal welfare. However, even here organic production comes under the spotlight. Pesticides (non-synthetic) can be used in organic production and typically require a higher concentration with more applications. One comment suggested that the natural pesticides have no side effects and are selective for the bad bugs – how wrong could they be. In animal welfare, I read that an organic chicken farm in the US provides a small skylight on the side of the housing so a few rays of sunlight can enter. This is all what is needed to constitute access to the outside under the organic standards. I could go on about how open to infection animals are in the absence of antibiotics but that is another story. In the end the interviews were complete and sure the story will sail into the background. Still the big issues of whistleblower protection and food fraud will need to be addressed sooner than later.