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DAFF sponsors AIFST

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THE Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) is once again the principal sponsor of The Australian Institute of Food Science & Technology Incorporated (AIFST) Convention, being held on 10 to 13 July at the Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre.

Up to 1,000 delegates are expected at this year’s AIFST Convention and another 9,000 food industry professionals will visit FoodPro 2005, which is collocating with the convention.

DAFF is hosting two sessions, which will bring together speakers on topical issues important to the Australian food industry.

The first session — on Tuesday, 12 July — will feature successful regional food producers from Australia and New Zealand.

The second session, the following day, will examine Australia’s food chain safety and security arrangements.

In Capturing Passion for Food – Success in the Regions on 12 July, delegates will hear from successful Australian and New Zealand regional producers.

The session will also highlight the Australian Government’s recently announced four-year, $12 million commitment to boosting food processing in regional Australia.

A former journalist and TV producer/director, Ian Parmenter was the producer/presenter of ABCTV’s Consuming Passions.

This year, Ian celebrates 40 years in the media, working in newspapers, magazines, radio, television and public relations.

Ian is Festival Director of Tasting Australia, the biennial food and wine festival, and is involved in G’day LA, a major promotion of Australian film, food, wine, education, art, tourism and business held in Los Angeles.

He is a contributor to food and drink magazines and is frequently heard on ABC Radio.

Ian has a Vineyard at Margaret River, where he produces an award-winning chardonnay wine and was a founder member of the Margaret River Food Group.

Ian is also a strong believer in supporting and promoting Australian food and drink producers.

Diane Rae established Tasmania’s only organic sheep dairy and cheesery in November 2002 and has created new markets for her cheese and sheep yogurt in Tasmania and mainland Australia.

Hear her story on what it took to get Grandewe Cheeses to the success it is today.

Arthur Ballantyne operates Back Country Foods Ltd in Invercargill, at the southern tip of New Zealand. He will explain how his company manufactures freeze-dried meals using raw materials produced by other food processors in the region.

The session will also provide delegates with up-to-date information on the Australian Government’s Food Processing in Regional Australia program, which will encourage value-adding of food produce before it leaves rural and regional areas.

The program provides funding of up to $200,000 for projects that facilitate and encourage food processing, set up regional networks and establish market contacts that will help boost regional economies.

To be eligible, a business must have fewer than 200 employees, a turnover of less than $25 million a year and operate in rural or regional Australia.

Information on this and other DAFF programs that support the Australian food industry will be available at the DAFF Stand 6038 in Hall 6 at FoodPro 2005.

DAFF has also sponsored the keynote speaker, Dr Ted Labuza, a Morse Alumni Distinguished Teaching Professor of Food Science in the University of Minnesota’s Department of Food Science and Nutrition.

Dr Labuza is also a member of the newly formed US Homeland Security Department’s centre of excellence, known as the University Centre for Post-Harvest Food Protection and Defense.

He will speak on the critical issue of biosecurity in the food distribution system at a seminar called Business is Warming Up on Wednesday, 13 July.

Dr Labuza will outline what the University Centre for Post-Harvest Food Protection and Defense is doing in the United States to address potential gaps and vulnerabilities in the food chain safety and security arrangements.

“A single attack, chosen with the right distribution logistics, could lead to a widespread outbreak of a disease that could have a major impact nationwide,” he said.

“It could result in nationwide panic and economic disaster for the agriculture and food processing industries.”

Speakers from the Australian Food Safety Centre of Excellence and Coca-Cola Amatil will add an Australian perspective to the biosecurity issue.

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