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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!

From Animal Doc to Food Safety Consultant: Dr. Hull-Jackson Shares Career Insights

An aspiring food safety professional recently interviewed Dr. Carol Hull-Jackson, founder of Hullson Consulting. Here, Dr. Hull-Jackson shares her journey and offers valuable advice for those looking to break into the field! Finding Your Niche in Food Safety Dr. Hull-Jackson’s career path is a testament to the power of following your passion. Starting as a veterinarian, her desire to bridge the gap between animal and human health led her to explore Veterinary Public Health and ultimately, food safety. This journey highlights the importance of identifying your interests and seeking opportunities that combine them. Building Authority: A Continuous Process Becoming a recognized expert requires a two-pronged attack: self-improvement and strategic marketing. Hone your core strengths, which encompass not just technical skills, but also your personality and diverse experiences. Then, actively seek out opportunities to showcase your expertise. Perseverance Pays Off: Unconventional Backgrounds Welcome Dr. Hull-Jackson emphasizes perseverance as a key ingredient for success. While some think that a veterinary background might seem far removed from food safety, it equipped her with valuable transferable skills. Look for ways to leverage your existing skillset and consider specializing in a niche area within food safety. Lifelong Learning is Essential The food safety landscape constantly evolves. Professional development is crucial. Attending courses, webinars, and conferences is important for staying updated on emerging trends like novel foods, food security, sustainability, and food law. Embrace Setbacks, Leverage Your Experiences Dr. Hull-Jackson reminds us that diverse experiences are assets, not liabilities. Don’t underestimate the transferable skills you’ve acquired throughout your career. Embrace setbacks as valuable learning experiences that build resilience and adaptability. Choosing Clients for a Fulfilling Career As a consultant, you have the autonomy to choose your clients. Prioritize those who value your expertise and align with your overall goals. Finding Motivation: Draw inspiration from your faith and a strong belief system. Setting ambitious goals and maintaining a positive outlook are crucial for overcoming setbacks and navigating periods with limited work opportunities.

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