Low Water Activity Foods Professional Development Group

Mission Statement: To promote and disseminate practical and scientific knowledge on the production of safe and wholesome low water activity products.

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, dsiedenburg@foodprotection.org, for more information.

Board Responses

2023 Board Response to Recommendations
  1. None.
2022 Board Response to Recommendations
  1. Recommends Brad Marks for approval as Chair and Laure Pujol as Vice Chair for upcoming terms.

    Board Response: Agreed.

  2. It is recommended that the IAFP Meeting App be synchronized with the web-based/online meeting program so that individual meeting plans can be made in advance and then synchronized into the app.

    Board Response: Unfortunately, the “online program” does not transfer information such as “selected sessions”to the Meeting App. IAFP staff will work to incorporate a message in the online program to alert users of this situation.

  3. Request: that the Low Water Activity Foods PDG and Animal and Pet Food Safety PDG meetings at the 2023 Annual Meeting be scheduled to not conflict, as there is very common overlap in members from Animal and Pet Food Safety into Low Water Activity Foods.

    Board Response: This will be taken into consideration when scheduling PDG meetings at IAFP 2023.

2021 Board Response to Recommendations
  1. None.
2020 Board Response to Recommendations
  1. Recommend approval of Dr. Bradley Marks as Vice Chair of the PDG as elected by the PDG.

    Board Response: Agree.

2019 Board Response to Recommendations
  1. None.
2018 Board Response to Recommendations
  1. Pablo Alvarez and Larry Steenson were elected as Chair and Vice-Chair, respectively. We kindly ask the IAFP Board for the acceptance and support of Pablo and Larry for these roles.

    Board Response: Agree.

2017 Board Response to Recommendations
  1. None.
2016 Board Response to Recommendations
  1. Recommend approval of Laurie Post as Vice Chair.

    Board Response: Agree

2015 Board Response to Recommendations
  1. Pardeepinder Brar stepped down as Student liaison because she has graduated. Requesting board approval for Manoj K. Shah, North Dakota State University – as Student Liaison.

    Board Response: Approve.

2014 Board Response to Recommendations
  1. Appoint Edith Wilkin to be Vice Chairperson.

    Board Response: Approved.

  2. Appoint Ian Hildebrandt and Pardeepinder Brar as student liaisons.

    Board Response: PDGs may establish Student Liaisons for their PDG without Board action.

  3. Try not to schedule Low Water Activity Foods PDG at the same time as Food Hygiene and Sanitation PDG. Many members of these PDGs overlap, as well as themes of discussion, and this would allow more robust attendance at each PDG meeting.

    Board Response: Efforts will be made to accommodate these requests.


  • Cronobacter in the Spotlight: New Insights Into a Known Organism

    Organized by: ILSI Europe, the Low Water Activity Foods PDG, Microbial Modelling and Risk Analysis PDG, and the International Food Protection Issues PDG

    Description: Cronobacter spp. is generally known to survive for long times in dry environments and can also form biofilms. Due to these characteristics the genus is ubiquitous in the environment, and has been isolated from different sources: water, soil, dust, cereals, animal products, herbs, spices and others. Cronobacter spp. (formerly known as Enterobacter sakazakii) was also identified as causative agent in foodborne outbreaks, esp. leading to severe infections, and even death, in infants. Since the majority of cases are in neonates and even premature neonates, the main food product involved is powdered infant formula for babies of 0-6 months. The organism is very robust in surviving dry conditions and is even more difficult to control in dry factory environments than Salmonella. The persistence of these organisms also led to re-occurring outbreaks, fortunately not frequently, but consistent. In this webinar, we will start with a short introduction to the organism and then discuss more details, which are relevant for Cronobacter spp. controls, with an expert panel on subjects like: epidemiology, ecology, persistence, sampling, detection and identification methods, microbiological criteria, and preventive measures. The audience is invited to send in questions beforehand.

    Learning Objectives:

    • Epidemiology, Ecology, Persistence, Sampling, Detection and Identification Methods
    • Microbiological Criteria
    • Preventive measures

    Download Slides

    • Seamus Fanning , Presenter University of Dublin, Ireland
    • Roy Betts, Presenter Campden BRI Group, UK
    • Marcel Zwietering, Presenter University of Wageningen, The Netherlands
    • Francois Bourdichon, Presenter Università Cattolica Del Sacro Cuore, France
    • Stephen Forsythe, Presenter Guest lecturer at the University of Hong Kong and Advisor Center for Food Safety, South Africa
    • Anett Winkler, Moderator Cargill, Germany
  • Avoiding Premature Water Activity Testing Results When Meeting Safety Regulations

    Organized by: Low Water Activity Foods PDG

    Government, risk-based product safety programs require water activity testing monitoring to mitigate risk, and these results must be reliable. Consequently, water activity testing methods need to be verified, meet the requirements of standard methods, and represent true equilibrium values. Water activity testing requires a vapor equilibration step that cannot be artificially sped up and fast water activity results are likely not meeting this requirement of vapor equilibrium. To illustrate the potential problems of premature results, several common food products were tested continuously in several manufacturer’s water activity instruments. The results indicate that less stringent end-of-test requirements did produce premature results that were different by as much as 0.03 aw than the final equilibrium results. This webinar will discuss the requirements of common water activity standard methods and the danger of failing audits when relying on premature water activity values.

    Learning Objectives:
    •An overview of the role of water activity testing in meeting government regulations
    •The requirements for water activity testing to meet standard methods and government regulations
    •Why fast water activity results may be premature and not fully reliable
    •The importance of understanding the impact of end-of-test settings
    •Best practices for optimizing test time while still obtaining reliable results

    Download Slides

    • Brad Taylor, Presenter Brigham Young University
    • Brady Carter, Presenter Neutec Group
    • Laure Pujol, Moderator Novolyze
  • Selection and Use of Target "Pertinent Pathogen" for Process Validations

    Sponsored by: Low Moisture Foods Pasteurization Alliance 

    Organized by: Low Water Activity Foods PDG

    Description: The speaker will provide an overview of selection and use of target "pertinent pathogen" in process validations.

    1. Describe the important considerations in the selection of pertinent pathogen(s)
    2. Identify key aims in inoculum preparation and inoculation
    3. List variables that affect use of target pathogen(s)
    4. Describe the importance of written detailed standard operating protocols

    Download Slides

    • Dr. Elizabeth Grasso-Kelley, Presenter Illinois Institute of Technology
    • Harshavardhan Thippareddi, Moderator University of Georgia
  • Validation of Pathogen Control Technologies for Low-Moisture Foods: Product and Process Considerations

    Sponsored by: Low Moisture Foods Pasteurization Alliance 

    Organized by: Low Water Activity Foods PDG 

    Description: The speakers will provide an overview of product and process parameters to consider when conducting validations for antimicrobial technologies for low moisture (water activity) foods. 

    At the completion of this webinar attendees will be able to…

    • describe the essential steps for a pasteurization validation
    • describe approaches to process validation
    • outline a process validation plan
    • identify critical process and product factors that must be understood, controlled, measured, recorded and documented in a validation report
    • Dr. Nathan Anderson, Presenter FDA
    • Dr. Lisa Lucore, Presenter Shearer's Snacks
    • Harshavardhan Thippareddi, Moderator University of Georgia
  • Low Moisture (Low Water Activity) Foods: Microbiological Safety and Current Regulatory Requirements

    Sponsored by 3M Food Safety

    Organized by the IAFP Low Water Activity Foods Professional Development Group 

    This webinar is part of CAP project funded by USDA NIFA

    The speakers will provide an overview of current food safety issues with low moisture (low water activity) foods and the evolving regulatory requirements for these products in view of the Food Safety Modernization Act. 

    At the completion of this webinar participants will be able to:

    1. Explain the importance of pathogen control for low-moisture foods
    2. Describe regulatory/FSMA requirements
    3. Provide examples of validation pitfalls
    4. Understand how to make a validation acceptable to a regulator
    • Dr. Bradley Marks, Presenter Michigan State University
    • Dr. Nathan Anderson, Presenter FDA
    • Dr. Harshavardhan Thippareddi, Moderator University of Georgia - Professor, Dept. of Poultry Science
  • Contamination Control and Decontamination of Low Moisture Food Processing Facilities Using Chlorine Dioxide Gas

    This presentation will discuss the chlorine dioxide gas fumigation method of sanitation within low water activity food processing facilities. Chemical properties, disadvantages of traditional sanitation, and a case study will be presented.

    Download Slides

    • Kevin Lorcheim ClorDiSys Solutions, Inc.