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A Thrilling Deep Dive into Food Safety: IAFP European Symposium Wrap-Up

The first day of the #IAFP European Symposium on Food Safety in Geneva, Switzerland, was truly a whirlwind of knowledge and inspiration. The lineup of speakers was exceptional, and their presentations sparked thought-provoking discussions.

Opening the Conversation on Food Safety

The opening session set a powerful tone. Tim Jackson, IAFP President’s remarks, were insightful, followed by captivating presentations. Michael Beer delved into the exciting world of New Technologies in Food Safety, while Francesco Branca, Director of the Dept of Nutrition and Food Safety at WHO, offered a compelling analysis on Reducing the Burden of Foodborne Illness.

Beyond the Headlines: Emerging Issues

Several sessions tackled cutting-edge topics. “Pathogens in the Plastisphere” explored the intersection of microplastics and food safety. “Food Safety Foresight and Emerging Issues” offered a glimpse into the future, with a particularly insightful talk by Vittorio Fatori (Food Safety Officer, FAO). It was a pleasure to connect with him after the session.

Networking – Building a Stronger Food Safety Community

The conference wasn’t just about presentations. It fostered valuable connections. I was honored to meet and connect with inspiring professionals like Dima Faour-Klingbeil, Ph.D., Rachel Ward, and others. These interactions are a vital part of building a strong global food safety community.

A Personal Journey: Connecting Research and the Future

This conference held a special place in my heart. Having presented research at the 2017 IAFP conference in the US and attending the online version in 2020, this year’s in-person event brought a renewed sense of interaction. It was fantastic to connect with some speakers, including Pimlapas (Shinny) Leekitcharoenphon, whose presentation on Whole Genome Sequencing training for international students is a fantastic opportunity for Caribbean and other regions. Additionally, Asli Solmaz-Kaiser’s insights into iComplai’s pesticide risk prediction technologies sparked ideas for enhancing HACCP chemical hazard control.

Closing with Global Vision

The closing highlights were nothing short of remarkable. Dr. Ludovica Verzegnassi’s presentation was insightful, and meeting Awilo Ochieng Pernet, the former chairperson of the Codex Alimentarius Commission and founder of World Food Safety Day, was an honor. Our conversation about harmonization challenges faced by SMEs in developing countries was a valuable exchange. Codex HACCP remains a cornerstone of global food safety standards.

A Memorable Experience: A Big Thank You

The IAFP organizing committee deserves immense praise for hosting such an outstanding European Symposium. I’m proud to be a member and eagerly anticipate the coming days. This conference has been a stimulating and enriching experience, and I look forward to sharing the knowledge gained and fostering further collaboration within the food safety community.

Capping off a Remarkable Week:

To top off an already remarkable week, I had the opportunity to visit the World Health Organization. And of course, no trip to Switzerland would be complete without witnessing the breathtaking majesty of the Swiss Alps. The science and scenery of Switzerland truly left a lasting impression on me. It was a memorable experience!

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