When the South Central Soil Summit came to Hilton College last December, Assistant Professor Sujata Sirsat and her students participated as hosts, volunteers and facilitators. The event brought together produce growers, educators and researchers in an effort to gain a better understanding of current FDA regulations and to identify strategies and resources needed to help growers and farmers address food safety.
The summit was held in collaboration with the Texas Department of Agriculture, the Produce Safety Alliance at Cornell University, the Institute for Food & Agricultural Sciences at the University of Florida, and the Food and Drug Administration.
“Being mindful of this can change the way we think about food supply,” she said. “Knowing how to prevent contamination outbreaks and how to implement safe food handling practices will ensure food safety from farm to table.”
To that end,
“The sessions allowed us to see the grower’s perspective and gave us a better idea of how they work with the FDA,” Alberto said. “We also learned that growers, farmers and food safety specialists have varying opinions when it comes to certain issues.”
This was Alberto’s first time as a moderator, an opportunity he said gave him the confidence to participate in discussions with industry experts and academics.
“The whole experience was really encouraging,” he said. “It was a great time to learn and network and I would definitely want to do something like this again.”
“My research might one day set the direction of how restaurants and other retail establishments can improve their best practices when it comes to health inspections, record keeping and health standards,” he said.
Chandler’s thesis area is on food safety
(Story & Photo: Pearl Cajoles)