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Lots on Tap During ‘Business Done, One-on-One’ AFFI-CON in San Diego

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AFFI-CON, the American Frozen Food Institute’s annual convention, will kick off on Feb. 24 for a four-day run at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego, California. Bringing together over 500 companies and more than 1,500 attendees from across the frozen food supply chain, the gathering will offer plenty of one-on-one business networking opportunities and education programs.

Food Export USA, in conjunction with AFFI, will conduct a Frozen Food Buyers Mission meetings during the first three days of the convention. Importers and brokers from around the world seeking US-sourced frozen fruits, vegetables, ready meals, appetizers desserts, ingredients and other products have been invited to meet sellers. The international contingent will include representatives from Freshpack of France, Watt’s Alimentos from Chile, the Saralex Group of Canada, Tahan Food Services from the Dominican Republic, Amerasia Food Service Company of Hong Kong, Som International from Korea, Distribuidora International de Alimentos of Guatemala, and Grandiose by Ghassan Aboud Group from the United Arab Emirates.

Frozen Berry Market Protection Plan Update

From 7 to 8 AM on Sunday, Feb. 25, an update will be presented on the frozen berry market protection plan to mitigate risks associated with the prevalence of enteric viruses (hepatitis A and norovirus) in berries, and regulatory developments impacting the industry. Amidst an outbreak in 2023 and a spate of product recalls, the industry came together to proactively address supply chain challenges, including growing demand for testing and regulatory uncertainties.

The Frozen Food Foundation and AFFI have worked with members to deploy a plan aimed at augmenting prevention and control efforts, building resilience in the supply chain, and coordinating research to support enteric virus inactivation and validation studies. Contributions from domestic and international processors, importers and other associations demonstrated a common purpose to undertake key projects and activities: a real-time enteric virus risk assessment tool, public outreach to share science-based approaches, research activities to fill the void between science and policy.

Lunch & Learn

“Beyond Dollars: The Invaluable Currency of Food Safety & Consumer Trust” will be the subject of Frank Yiannas’ lunchtime remarks on Feb. 25. The former USDA deputy commissioner for food policy and response will illuminate the critical importance of fostering a robust food safety culture within organizations, as it directly impacts a company’s reputation and bottom line. Attendees will gain insights into risk mitigation, regulatory compliance and the tangible benefits of earning and maintaining consumer trust.

Frank Yianna

Annual Meeting & Keynote Speaker

Former US Navy SEAL Team Six leader Robert J. O’Neill will be the keynote speaker following the Noon to 1 PM annual membership meeting on Feb. 25. He will discuss Operation Neptune Spear, the mission that resulted in Osama bin Laden’s death on May 1, 2011. The senior chief petty officer was also active in ending the siege of the highjacked Maersk Alabama container ship and freeing its 23-man crew held hostage approximately 240 miles off the coast of Somalia on April 12, 2009. Three pirates were killed and one was captured during the action.

Robert J. O’Neill

O’Neill will share what he learned during more than 400 combat missions across four theaters of war, and discuss strategic planning, the importance of preparedness, decision making under pressure, and maintaining a steadfast commitment to never quit.

For more information about AFFI-CON, visit www.affi.org