Monday, July 10, 2017: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
Room 13-14 (Tampa Convention Center)
From innovative Incan terraces on steep mountain slopes, where potatoes and peppers flourish in Peru’s iconic Andes range, to the vast pampas of Argentina, where the legendary gauchos herd cattle on horseback, to prolific coffee plantations in Brazil’s subtropical southeastern states, and to equally unique destinations in between, South America abounds with places where a tremendous variety of great food is produced for locals and the world. Moreover, food is produced in different seasons than in Northern hemisphere continents, and this contributes favorably to the consistency of foreign food supplies year-round. South American countries export a wide variety of foods to the U.S., including fresh fruits, salmon, beef, wine, and coffee. The U.S. imported a whopping $18.509 billion worth of agricultural and fish products from South America in 2014, according to U.S. Census Bureau trade data compiled by USDA. The World Trade Organization reported that South and Central America exported a combined US$ 217 billion in agricultural products in 2013.
Market access throughout the world and brand protection have been the major drivers of food safety in South America; and this has specifically led to implementation of new food legislation, as well as modernization of food safety inspection agencies to comply with international requirements and guidelines. As a result there are more food safety experts, better laboratories, more experienced food safety authorities, better rulemaking processes, and more training on food safety and quality than ever before. Yet, challenges remain. In Central America, issues include water quality, agricultural research and development limitations, hygiene challenges, lack of refrigeration, cross contamination, and improper food handling and preparation. This symposium will provide a forum to share information on food safety challenges and initiatives in Latin America.