On the heels of last year's food-safety issue, which resulted in the recall of thousands of cartons of mangos in the United States and Canada because of Salmonella Braenderup, the industry is hosting a Mango Food Safety Conference March 6 in McAllen, TX.
The all-day seminar will be held in the McAllen Conference Center just prior to the start of the America Trades Produce Conference & Expo, which is jointly sponsored by the Texas International Produce Association and the Nogales, AZ-based Fresh Produce Association of the Americas.
The National Mango Board is hosting the mango event to analyze last year's recall as well as look at other similar situations in the industry in an effort to prevent it from happening again.
Bill Vogel, president of Vision Produce Co. in Los Angeles and this year's chairman of the National Mango Board, said that the industry wants to analyze what went wrong last year but also establish some preventive practices to make sure it doesn't happen again.
Mr. Vogel said that the seminar, which is currently being developed, is filled with experts who will discuss mango food safety from many different viewpoints.
Representatives from produce firms involved in several different recalls over the past couple of years — including last year's mango recall — will be on one panel analyzing crisis management, while another panel will specifically look at a risk assessment of the mango industry conducted by experts. A third panel discussion will feature foodservice and retailer buyers looking at the food-safety and recall systems they have in place.
In addition, representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food & Drug Administration, as well as industry associations, will give their respective perspectives on handling a food-safety crisis.
Among the speakers who are confirmed are William Watson of the National Mango Board, Lance Jungmeyer of FPAA, John McClung of TIPA, Larry Nienkerk of Splendid Products — a firm involved in the mango recall — and Will Steele of Frontera Produce, who was involved in the deadly cantaloupe contamination problem in 2011.
Mr. Vogel said that the conference will provide an opportunity for mango industry members to learn, network and see others' perspectives while gaining useful and applicable tools and resources.
The conference is being put on free of charge and is open to all interested parties. At the end of the day, industry members will have take-home information on food-safety guidelines and standards, high-risk areas and suggested solutions for the mango industry, and a broad view of how food-safety issues affect the food supply chain.
More information is available on the NMB website: www.mango.org.