Fruit and Vegetable Safety and Quality Professional Development Group

Mission Statement: To provide a forum to discuss items of interest to the safe production of fruit and vegetable products and to develop program topics and symposia for presentation at the IAFP Annual Meetings.

Meeting Information

IAFP 2024

July 14, 2024

How to Join

Involvement in committees and professional development groups (PDGs) offers Members the opportunity to share a wealth of knowledge and expertise. Members of committees and PDGs are the architects of the Association structure. They plan, develop and institute many of the Association's projects, including workshops, publications and educational sessions. Technical challenges facing the food safety industry are discussed, examined and debated. Members may volunteer to serve on any number of committees or PDGs that plan and implement activities to meet the Association's mission.

Membership on a PDG is voluntary (not by appointment) and may vary from year to year.

IAFP Members can manage their PDG involvement by logging in to the IAFP Web site. At the Member Dashboard, click “Edit Profile.” Your profile has two tabs: Contact Info and Professional Info. Select the Professional Info tab and update the PDGs you would like to participate in. We highly recommend that you contact the PDG chairperson for each group to let them know you have joined their PDG.

Non-members can contact Dina Siedenburg,, for more information.

Board Responses

2023 Board Response to Recommendations
  1. PDG Members support the continued implementation of the breakout portion of the meeting and therefore would like the board to consider the room configuration for the PDG. Round tables with areas to move around would be beneficial.

    Board Response: Due to limited space and logistics in convention centers, it is not possible to alter the configurations of meeting rooms during PDG sessions. There may be other / alternative spaces in the convention center to utilize.

  2. Consider organizing a local tour (with registration cap) to showcase a food facility, farm, or business that provides food safety services in each host city during the annual meeting.

    Board Response: The PDG is welcome to organize a tour of a facility or farm on their own or as a part of a Workshop.

2022 Board Response to Recommendations
  1. Recommend Enrique Garcia of Hazel Technologies, Inc. be approved as incoming Vice Chair for the Fruit & Vegetable Safety & Quality PDG.

    Board Response: Agreed.

  2. Consider organizing a local tour (with registration cap) to showcase a food facility, farm, or business that provides food safety services in each host city during the Annual Meeting.

    Board Response: If a company wanted to offer and support this activity, it could be accommodated on Saturday prior to the Annual Meeting or on Thursday after completion of the Annual Meeting.

  3. Provide more development opportunities for Chairs and Vice Chairs to engage with PDGs, share what has worked/what hasn’t worked, and examples of PDG activities and output that IAFP feels aligns with its mission and purpose of the PDGs. Limited information has been provided to new Chairs/Vice Chairs, and the Saturday pre-meeting does not provide much actionable information to prepare for leadership within these roles.

    Board Response: It is planned to hold two or three virtual meetings with the Chairs and Vice Chairs in the coming year. Additional planning will go into the Saturday meeting.

2021 Board Response to Recommendations
  1. None.
2020 Board Response to Recommendations
  1. Recommend to the Board that Kristin Esch, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, be approved as Vice Chair of the PDG.

    Board Response: Agree.

  2. Continue to offer free webinars sponsored by the IAFP Foundation to increase PDG accessibility to learning opportunities.

    Board Response: Agree.

2019 Board Response to Recommendations
  1. The PDG would like to propose to the Board that the IAFP Connect online platform be developed into an app for use on cell phones and tablets. This could be sponsored by industry to off-set the costs of development and make the platform more likely to be used by members.

    Board Response: Agree. Staff will investigate the cost and implementation.

2018 Board Response to Recommendations
  1. Recommend to the Board that the Gretchen Wall, Cornell University, be approved as Vice Chair of the PDG.

    Board Response: Agree.

2017 Board Response to Recommendations
  1. None.
2016 Board Response to Recommendations
  1. Recommend to the Board that the Humberto Maldonado from Driscolls be approved as Vice Chair of the PDG.

    Board Response: Agree

  2. Recommendation to the Board to find a way to better determine the size and number of chairs needed for the PDG meeting; many members were standing or sitting on the floor. Additionally, it’s recommended that further consideration be made for the design and set-up of the room to better facilitate discussion and PDG member interactions, and/or PDG be allowed to modify the room set-up and put it back before the next meeting in the room (note: this may not be practical).

    Board Response: Badge scanning was used this year to obtain a more accurate number of attendees. This will help in room set up and making room assignments for 2017.

  3. Recommend to the Board that there be continued support and encouragement to hold Webinars.

    Board Response: Agree. Please contact the IAFP office to schedule a Webinar.

2015 Board Response to Recommendations
  1. Recommend to the Board that the website be enhanced to enable the selection and deselect- ion of PDG(s) that a member (or non-member) can join and that updated information be automatically sent to the IAFP staff, and Chairs and Vice chairs of the applicable PDG(s).

    Board Response: IAFP staff will look into making these changes.

2014 Board Response to Recommendations
  1. Recommend to the Board that Sherri McGarry serve as the Vice-Chair for this PDG.

    Board Response: Approved.

  2. Recommend to the Board that the arrangement of the furniture in the PDG meeting space be more conducive to discussions with large numbers of people. Typically we have had a large circle of chairs with a second set of chairs around the perimeter. This previous set-up is advantageous compared to the lecture-style format of today’s meeting.

    Board Response: Because rooms are used for more than one Committee or PDG meeting, it is not feasible to make changes to room sets during the day. Some Members did not like the chairs around the perimeter of the room (did not feel a part of the conversation) so classroom set ups were used for large Committee and PDG meetings.


  • From Farm to Fork: Ranking Food Safety Priorities in the Fresh Produce Industry

    Organized by: IAFP's: Fruit and Vegetable Safety and Quality PDG

    A broad understanding of food safety priorities in the fresh produce supply chain is essential to improve food safety knowledge and practices effectively and efficiently throughout the fresh produce industry. The goal of this study was to identify and rank community produce safety priorities in the United States. Survey questions were designed and approved by food safety experts for participants to rank 24 fresh produce safety priorities. The anonymous survey was distributed online via Qualtrics™ to fresh produce community members from November 2020 to May 2021. A total of 281 respondents represented fourteen different roles in the fresh produce industry, with most identified as growers (39.5%). These findings provide insight into community member priorities in fresh produce safety and can be used to inform intervention efforts, ranging from specialized training for produce growers and packers, industry-driven research projects, and gaps in risk communication strategies.

    Learning Objectives:
    1. Describe the food safety priorities of fresh produce commodity members.
    2. Identify emerging concerns in the fresh produce supply chain landscape.

    Download Slides

    • Bashiru Charles Bakin, Presenter Ohio State University, Ph. D. Student
    • Alexis Hamilton, Presenter Virginia Tech, Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist
    • Kristin Esch, Moderator FDA and Fruit and Vegetable Safety and Quality Chair
  • Impact of Water Use and Reuse in Food Production and Processing on Food Safety at the Consumer Phase: Focus on the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Products Sector

    Organized by: Water Safety and Quality PDG, International Food Protection Issues PDG, Fruits and Vegetables Safety Quality PDG

    Webinar Abstract:

    The use of clean water in growing, handling and processing of fruits and vegetables is essential to achieve consumer safe food products.

    Various types of hazards are potentially introduced through water use and reuse. These need to be identified and, where necessary, risks at the consumer phase have to be reduced to acceptable levels through adequate treatment/technical intervention.

    Codex Alimentarius is developing risk management guidance related to use and reuse of water in production and processing for different food product sectors. The Joint Expert Meeting in Microbiological Risk Assessment (JEMRA), working under auspices of FAO and WHO, provides input into this.

    The JEMRA report for fresh fruits and vegetables has been published. It proposes a new framework for science- and risk-based decision-making on fit-for-purpose water use and reuse. The use of the framework is illustrated with practical pre- and postharvest interventions to mitigate food safety risks at the consumer phase.

    Learning Objectives:

    The participants will learn about the following aspects of water reuse in the fruits and vegetables sector:

    The efforts of JEMRA and Codex to develop a risk- and science-based framework to manage the safe use and reuse of water in the production and processing of fresh fruits and vegetables following a "fit-for-purpose" approach.

    The microbiological hazards potentially associated with water (re-)use in production and processing, and interventions that may help mitigate food safety risks at the consumer stage.

    Case-studies from the JEMRA report that illustrate practical examples of current water (re-)use in the fresh fruits and vegetables sector in different parts of the world

    The outcomes of field testing the proposed framework by stakeholders (competent authorities and farmers/food industry).

    Download Slides

    • Zhou Kang, Presenter FAO, Italy
    • Anna Allende, Presenter CEBAS-CSIC, Spain
    • Rob de Jonge, Presenter National Institute of Public Health, The Netherlands
    • Elisabetta Lambertini, Presenter GAIN, USA
    • Leon Gorris, Moderator Food Safety Futures, The Netherlands
  • Pre-harvest Internalization:  Water-mediated Biological Internalization of Pathogens into Produce

    Organized by: IAFP's Fruit and Vegetable Safety and Quality PDG

    What’s worse than pathogens on your produce? Pathogens IN your produce. This concept may be accepted as common sense by the fresh produce industry. Two related concepts are explicitly written into the Food Safety Modernization Act, Produce Safety Rule (21 CFR 112) and addressed in regulatory language:
    1) Infiltration during postharvest washing due, in part, to temperature differential in wash water (§ 112.48, as published in 2015) and
    2) Internalization while growing due, in part, to commodity susceptibility to adhesion and internalization (proposed § 112.43, as re-numbered in the proposal published in 2021)
    In this seminar, subject-matter experts will discuss the state of the science about pathogen internalization while growing as caused by three different mechanisms (incorporation into ovary during blossom stage, plant-pathogen interactions on leaf surfaces, uptake through roots). Following the three 15-minute presentations, the presenters will discuss the risk to produce from pre-harvest pathogen internalization and take questions from viewers.

    Learning objectives:
    1. Gain a conceptual understanding of mechanisms that lead to preharvest pathogen internalization into fresh produce
    2. Understand the research-based data describing how, when, and how much preharvest pathogen internalization might occur in various processes and commodities
    3. Understand how existing data can be applied to assess risk related to preharvest pathogen internalization for various processes and commodities
    4. Identify gaps in knowledge that may lead to further research related to preharvest pathogen internalization
    5. Recognize uncertainties caused by gaps in knowledge, which may hinder attempts at assessing risk related to preharvest pathogens

    Download Slides

    • Kellie Burris, Presenter FDA/CFSAN
    • Shirley Micallef, Presenter University of Maryland
    • Kalmia Kniel, Presenter University of Delaware
    • Enrique Garcia, Moderator FirstFruits Farms
  • Produce Safety Risks and an Update on Two Ongoing Research Projects - Risks imposed by wild birds and risks associated with EHEC during post harvest leafy greens

    Organized by the IAFP Fruit and Vegetable Safety and Quality PDG

    This webinar will focus on two ongoing research projects related to produce safety, "A holistic assessment of the food safety risks imposed by wild birds" and "quantifying risk associated with changes in the EHEC physiology during post harvest pre processing stages of leafy green production". The researchers will provide a synopsis of their current research including background, purpose, methodology and expected outcomes that may assist farmers with mitigating produce safety hazards. They will also discuss previous research that has led them to these research projects and future research that may evolve from these studies.

    Learning Objectives:
    1. Potential produce safety risks associated with wild birds
    2. Potential produce safety risks associated with changes in EHEC physiology during post-harvest pre-processing stages of leafy green production.
    3. Potential connections between researchers and industry related to the aforementioned topics

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    • Teresa Bergholz, Presenter Michigan State University
    • Daniel Karp, Presenter University of California- Davis
    • Kristin Esch, Moderator FDA and Chair of the Fruit and Vegetable Safety and Quality PDG
  • Foundations of Produce Safety in Hydroponic and Aquaponic Operations

    Organized by the Fruit and Vegetable Safety and Quality Professional Development Group

    Hydroponic and aquaponic crop production systems are growing in popularity, number, and scale. Many of these operations may be covered under the FSMA Produce Safety Rule or be subject to third-party audits, raising questions among growers, Extension professionals, researchers, and consultants about produce safety hazards, risk assessment, and other considerations in these operations. In this webinar, we will introduce the diversity of hydroponic and aquaponic operations, key concepts for produce safety risk assessment, and primary considerations for FSMA Produce Safety Rule compliance. We will also solicit feedback from the audience about their experiences and questions regarding produce safety in hydroponics and aquaponics.

    Learning Objectives:
    • Understand the diversity among hydroponic and aquaponic (HP/AP) operations and what these growing systems look like.
    • Gain awareness of key topic areas relevant to produce safety in HP/AP operations.
    • Understand the primary considerations relevant to FSMA Produce Safety Rule compliance in HP/AP operations.
    • Participants share experiences and perceived educational and research needs, contributing to future programming and materials development.

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    • Sean Fogarty, Presenter University of Vermont - Northeast Center to Advance Food Safety
    • Gretchen Wall, Moderator International Fresh Produce Association
  • Food Safety Practices on U.S. Produce Farms Before FSMA

    Before FSMA's Produce Rule was implemented, USDA’s Economic Research Service and National Agricultural Statistics Service surveyed produce growers about their food safety practices. These survey data provide USDA’s first update of national food safety practices since 1999 and since microbial contamination of produce became widely recognized and researched. At the time of the survey, many growers who would be covered by the FSMA Produce Safety Rule (PSR) already had some food safety practices in place. Of these, larger growers had adopted food safety practices at higher rates than smaller growers, and small farms required more changes to meet the PSR standards than large farms.

    Download Slides

    Supplemental Documents

    Changes in U.S. produce grower food safety practices from 1999 to 2016

    Food Safety Requirements for Produce Growers: Retailer Demands and the Food Safety Modernization ActEconomic Information Bulletin No. 206

    • Gregory Astill, Speaker USDA Economic Research Service
    • Travis Minor, Speaker USDA Economic Research Service
    • Suzanne Thornsbury, Speaker USDA Economic Research Service
    • Gretchen Wall, Moderator Produce Safety Alliance Coordinator, Cornell University
  • "FDA’s Proposed FSMA Produce Rule" Webinar - Learn from the Experts

    International Association for Food Protection teamed up with the United Fresh Produce Association to bring together this webinar providing details about the FDA’s proposed Produce Rule under the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The webinar offers insights and analysis of the draft FSMA rules from the FDA, university experts, food safety leaders and legal counsel.

    Co-hosted by the International Association for Food Protection and United Fresh Produce Association

    Organized by the Fruit and Vegetable Safety and Quality PDG

    • Dr. James Gorny Senior Advisor, Office of Food Safety, FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN)
    • David Durkin Legal Counsel, OFW Law