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Food packaging: NSF announces 2010 Food Safety Leadership Award winners

NSF International, a global leader in food safety solutions, has announced the recipients of the 2010 Food Safety Leadership Awards. The winners will receive their awards at the 2010 Food Safety Summit in Washington, D.C. (Award ceremony is 9:45 a.m. EST, Wednesday, April 14th in Washington D.C. Convention Center’s Keynote Theatre.)

NSF is an independent, not-for-profit organization committed to protecting and improving public health and safety, with a focus on food, drinking water, indoor air and the environment.  As part of this commitment, NSF created the Food Safety Leadership Awards (FSLA) program to encourage the development of innovative technologies and learning programs that advance food safety efforts.

Each year, NSF solicits nominations from throughout the food safety community and convenes an independent panel of food safety experts from academia, industry and the regulatory community to select the winners. Nominations are evaluated on creativity, innovation, design and the contributions made to the advancement of food safety. This year, six individuals or organizations will be recognized in the categories of outstanding innovation in: “Training,” “Equipment Design,” “System Improvement,” and “Education.”

The 2010 Food Safety Leadership Award Winners:

Innovation in Training, California Strawberry Commission Food Safety Team
After developing one of the first commodity-specific food safety guidelines, the California Strawberry Commission (CSC) — a state government agency that represents growers, shippers and processors of California strawberries — conducted an industry-wide food safety risk assessment to review the entire production chain throughout the state. This assessment identified key areas of potential food safety risk. They then updated the CSC Food Safety Program using best practices from the produce industry and providing effective food safety training programs and instructional materials. The end result was a new program called “Food Safety Practices for Strawberry Harvest Workers.”  The CSC also developed language-neutral training materials for their harvest crews. Using the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and the CSC Food Safety Program, the training program was developed in English and Spanish and included a field-ready training tool, Power Point presentation, as well as a train-the-trainer and food safety teaching workshop.

Innovation in Equipment Design, FoodSafe Team, Intralox
In the past four decades, Intralox has grown from a small conveyor belt manufacturer to a global provider of conveying solutions. During this time, the company has developed a worldwide reputation for ethical and responsible business practices. Intralox has established themselves as a leader by striving for excellence in four key areas: service, technology, accountability and results. Working directly with major food processors, Intralox continues to identify new ways to increase their sanitation efficiency. The FoodSafe technology solution they’ve created encompasses Intralox ThermoDrive® belting and Intralox SeamFree™ Hygienic Solutions for food manufacturing and processing applications where sanitation is a critical component. Today, this technology is the standard in food processing and even tire, beverage container and other industries worldwide.  

Innovation in System Improvement, Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu
The Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu in Saudi Arabia was established in 1975 to help develop the physical and social infrastructure needed to grow the cities of Jubail and Yanbu.  As part of this mission, the Royal Commission designed a program to ensure food safety among the workforce and for residents. The Commission was able to spur an increase in public health and food safety awareness throughout the community by implementing a Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points (HACCP) food safety management system. The Commission also established the first Environmental Health Training Center in Saudi Arabia, which serves as a food handler training institute. This center has helped train national Environmental Health Officers who have then helped other cities and municipalities implement the food safety program. With the help of the Royal Commission’s environmental health section, this food safety program has now been in place for over 23 years and is continuing to increase its reach.

Innovation in System Improvement, Southern Nevada Health District
Prior to 1999, Nevada was one of 11 states in the nation that had a Hepatitis A incidence rate of more than two times the national average. Hepatitis A is most commonly transmitted through contaminated food or drinking water. At its peak in 1997, more than 4,500 cases were reported in Clark County.  To address this problem, the Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD) developed a two-step solution. The first step involved immunizing children through child care facilities located in high-risk areas. The second step included immunizing food handlers.  As a result of their highly effective system, Clark County’s incidence of Hepatitis A dropped dramatically from 4,500 reported cases in 1997 to a mere 10 cases in 2009.

Innovation in Education, William Marler, Managing Partner, Marler Clark, LLP, PS

For over 17 years, foodborne illness attorney Bill Marler has helped thousands of people suffering from serious disabilities caused by foodborne illness. Using the power of information, Marler devotes his time and effort to keeping awareness high by way of the Internet, media, public appearances and newsletters. This includes informational blogs and websites that educate the public about foodborne pathogens, including E-coli, salmonella and hepatitis, Marler’s Marlerblog.com and the web-based newsletter foodsafetynews.com. In 1998, Marler and his partners at Marler Clark founded Outbreak, Inc., a non-profit dedicated to training companies on how to prevent foodborne illness. Marler frequently speaks on the topic of food safety to public and environmental health groups and participates in panels, forums and symposiums to share food safety information. Through his efforts, Bill Marler has helped transform people’s experiences with foodborne illness into advocacy and his passion for educational outreach has proven to be one of the best tools for change.  

Innovation in Education, Catherine H. Strohbehn, Ph.D, RD, CP-FS, Hotel, Restaurant, and Institution Management (HRIM) Extension Specialist and Adjunct Associate Professor, Iowa State University
Throughout the last decade, Dr. Catherine Strohbehn has conducted educational outreach efforts on the topics of food safety, food safety systems and human resources.  Among her many accomplishments on the local, national and international front is the SafeFood© food safety program.  This is a four-lesson, interactive online curriculum that focuses on the fundamentals of food safety.  Dr. Strohbehn was instrumental in creating the Iowa State University (ISU) Risk Management and SafeFood© 101 programs, which is now required training for over 2,000 ISU students involved with food fundraising. She also oversees the award-winning food safety website www.iowafoodsafety.org, which is jointly run by Iowa State University’s Food Science and Human Nutrition (FSHN) and Hotel, Restaurant, and Institution Management (HRIM) Extensions. The website, iowafoodsafety.org, contains valuable food safety information and resources that is used by over 400,000 visitors annually.

SOURCE: NSF International

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