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Agricultural News

Oklahoma Food Industry Leaders Conclude Food Safety Has to Be Job One

Sun, 24 Nov 2013 16:52:55 CST

Oklahoma Food Industry Leaders Conclude Food Safety Has to Be Job One There was one common theme during a recent advisory meeting of Oklahoma State University's Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Center- and that was Food Safety.

FAPC's Industry Advisory Committee members from across Oklahoma met Nov. 7, 2013, at the Oklahoma State Capitol in Oklahoma City to discuss food and agricultural issues. The topic of discussion that dominated the day was how the advisory board could help make OSU and FAPC the leader in food safety.

"With the leadership of the advisory board, there are developing programs that could have a positive affect on Oklahoma, especially in the area of food safety," said Paul Schatte, committee chair and co-owner of Head Country Food Inc., who presided over the meeting.

During the meeting, FAPC Industry Advisory Committee members met with Secretary and Commissioner of Agriculture Jim Reese, Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb and several legislators.

"The Industry Advisory Committee wanted to enjoy a working session at our state Capitol and give legislators and other state leaders an opportunity to discuss work by FAPC that supports growth of the food industry in our state," said Roy Escoubas, FAPC director.

One of the items of discussion during the meeting was how the state government can help grow food and agricultural businesses.

The committee agreed that food safety is the common denominator for all food processors. The food industry leaders emphasized the need to hire individuals with food safety knowledge, and a food safety program at OSU could help them hire students with expertise in that area.

In the meantime and with help from the Industry Advisory Committee, FAPC launched a Global Food Safety Initiative program to help meet the food safety and security needs of Oklahoma's food industry. FAPC's GFSI program focuses on direct food industry assistance in the areas of training, auditing, education and in-plant technical assistance for food safety and quality programs.

Schatte said he was pleased with the outcome of the meeting and enjoys working with food industry professionals on the advisory board.

"The committee meetings give us an opportunity to discuss important issues and challenges facing FAPC and the food industry," Schatte said. "The meetings are vital in order to keep us informed, so we are able to provide the necessary leadership."

The advisory board consists of a diverse group of individuals representing the food and agricultural sectors.

In addition to Schatte, other members of the committee include Nancy Addington, Associated Wholesale Grocers of Oklahoma City; Luis Bogran, Curwood, a Bemis Co. of Pauls Valley, Okla.; Ed Clements, Clements Foods Co. of Oklahoma City; Gary Crane, Ralph's Packing Co. of Perkins, Okla.; Scott Dvorak, Dvorak Farms of Perry, Okla.; John Griffin, Griffin Foods of Muskogee, Okla.; David Howard, Unitherm Food Systems of Bristow, Okla.; Virgil Jurgensmeyer, J-M Farms of Miami, Okla.; Rodger Kerr, Southwest Technology Center of Altus, Okla.; Tommy Kramer, Durant Industrial Authority of Durant, Okla.; John Patrick Lopez, Lopez Foods of Oklahoma City; David McLaughlin, AdvancePierre Foods of Oklahoma City; Allen Mills, Reasor's Inc. of Tahlequah, Okla.; John Williams, Chef's Requested Foods of Oklahoma City; and ex-officio Mike Woods, OSU's Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.

The committee meets twice a year to conduct business relating to FAPC, usually in June and November. The June meeting is held at FAPC, while the November meeting is held off-site at the discretion of the committee.



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