Opening Session - Ivan Parkin Lecture

Sunday, July 9, 2017: 6:00 PM-7:30 PM
Ballroom (Tampa Convention Center)


6:00 PM
Welcome Comments
Linda J. Harris, University of California-Davis
6:20 PM
IAFP Foundation
Gary Acuff, Texas A&M University
7:00 PM
The Ivan Parkin Lecture - The Anthropologist, the Chef, and the Kitchen Sink
Jose Emilio Esteban, U.S. Department of Agriculture, FSIS-OPHS-EALS
Food safety today is not the same as it was yesterday or a year ago or even a decade ago. How we interact within and between academia, industry, and government has to change and adapt. Pathogens change, we adjust by creating new interventions. Biocides are developed and drug residues are introduced into our food supply, we find better ways to decontaminate. Constant changes in hazards, require us to generate new detection and characterization technologies in an endless attempt to detect at lower levels, with faster speed, and with more accuracy. Where does this cycle end? In the lecture, I will share two perspectives, that of an anthropologist and a chef; both addressing the same goal: to have enough food, feed, and fuel, to sustain an ever growing (and aging) population.

When was the last time you had time to think how we got to here? What is considered food today may not have been “food” a few years ago. What is normal for one consumer group may be considered strange for another. Today’s level of detection for an analytical method was only considered theoretical a few years ago. Remember life without a cell phone? Remember life without the internet? Pathogens that could be easily neutralized are now resistant and that resistance is now a permanent part of the genetic possibilities for the foreseeable future.

We may all walk different paths and we will all have intermediate stops; however, we are all headed in the same general direction. The IAFP Annual Meeting, is the one occasion where industry, academia, and government representatives from the entire world assemble to exchange information. Relationships are forged, lifelong partnerships are made, and the seeds of change are planted. We all have one goal in mind, food safety. Unless we try to understand where we came from and where we are, it’s impossible to know where we want to be.

The anthropologist view will help us understand characteristics of consumers, behaviors, and preferences. Only by understanding this can we move forward to where we want to be. The chef perspective will then give us a sense of reality for today and instill creativity for where we can go. Hope you enjoy a personal perspective of the world through metaphors.

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