2016 BIFSCo Recap

This year's gathering of the Beef Industry Food Safety Council (BIFSCo) was held in Austin, Texas. Several members of the Safe Foods team went to the conference in order to learn from the food safety experts in the meat industry.
Here are five key takeaways from BIFSCo: 
  1. Water sustainability and water usage were the topics to kick off the Beef Industry Food Safety Council this year in Austin, TX. Water sustainability must be safe and profitable, and ways for the beef industry to balance water usage and efficiency with food safety were discussed.
  2. A regulatory update from the USDA discussed the importance of focusing on the non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing E. coli and Salmonella. Specific numbers on the bacteria in the beef industry will be coming out in the April Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
  3. Whole genome sequencing was discussed and how it could be used in both positive and negative ways for the beef industry. Presenters discussed concerns from the industry, and addressed positive ways whole genome sequencing can be beneficial, such as investigating food borne disease outbreaks, identifying the specific type and sub-type of bacteria involved in an outbreak, and helping to determine any environmental harborage of bacteria in FSIS-inspected facilities.
  4. Data usage and availability to improve food safety systems were also covered. Processors are beginning to understand the importance of real-time access to information and how that will help them to take a preventative approach to food safety. 
  5. This was the 14th year of BIFSCo and there were over 250 registered attendees. Next year BIFSCo will be February 28 - March 2, 2017.
If you'd like to view the presentations from this year's event, click here