Webinars to Focus on Food-Safety Crisis Communications

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By Karla Arboleda

The Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association (GFVGA) and the United Fresh Produce Association have teamed up to host a webinar series on how producers can prepare to handle a food-safety crisis.

The Crisis Communications Webinar Series hosted and led by several crisis management experts from Washington, D.C., will cover what aspects to consider when encountering events like a food-safety recall. Beth Oleson, director of education and food safety for the GFVGA, wants people in the fresh produce industry to know that the webinars will help them be prepared.

“This (webinar series) is much more focused on if a crisis occurs.” Oleson says. “If it’s a foodborne illness that’s either associated with your operation or a commodity that you grow … you’re going to be impacted because the sales of that commodity as a whole are going to go down.”

Starting Sept. 17 and recurring weekly through Oct. 15, the online workshops will feature information from regulatory, communicative, legal and technical standpoints in managing crises. The webinars will include important aspects to adopt in preparation for potential crises.

“There’s a strong encouragement for the produce industry to start looking at digital food safety and traceability systems, and that’s never been a case before,” Oleson said, referring to technology that helps operations keep track of their product and its safety. “There’s now software that allows you to see all of that digitally instead of having to go through papers.”

Oleson stresses that the motivation behind making this education accessible is its global benefits to the industry. “Science tells us that there’s no such thing as ‘zero-risk.’ These webinars can definitely help companies be prepared to act quickly if they ever face a recall situation,” she says.

All five webinars are free of charge to GFVGA members and people involved in the fresh produce industry. See the dates, times and topics of each webinar below, and visit GFVGA.org for more information.

Managing a Crisis: Sept. 17 at 11 a.m. EDT

  • Presented by Amy Philpott, Watson Green, LLC
  • Crisis Management 101: The principals and elements of managing any crisis

The Anatomy of a Food Recall: Sept. 24 at 11 a.m. EDT

  • Presented by Amy Philpott, Watson Green, LLC
  • How do recalls unfold and how can a plan help you prepare?

When FDA Comes Knocking: Oct. 1 at 11 a.m. EDT

  • Presented by David L. Durkin, OFW Law
  • Regulatory requirements and how to meet FDA expectations during a recall

Traceability & Other Technical Aspects of a Recall: Oct. 8 at 11 a.m. EDT

  • Presented by Jennifer McEntire, United Fresh Produce Association
  • Will your food safety and traceability systems hold up to the demands of a recall?

Crisis Communications: Oct. 15 at 11 a.m. EDT

  • Presented by Amy Philpott, Watson Green, LLC
  • A recalling company’s reputation is at stake and communication can make a difference.

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