UACES Facebook Genome sequencing & food-borne illnesses on agenda for OFPA convention April 5-6
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Genome sequencing & food-borne illnesses on agenda for OFPA convention April 5-6

By Dave Edmark
U of A System Division of Agriculture
March 11, 2016 

Fast facts:

  • 110th annual meeting to be held at convention center in Springdale.
  •  Exhibitors will offer “flash talks” to promote their work
  • Activities include golf tournament, exposition, poster competition 

(600 words)

SPRINGDALE, Ark. – How DNA could hold the key to pinpointing the cause of foodborne illnesses and help scientists prevent wider outbreaks will be one of the featured talks at the 110th Ozark Food Processors Association Convention on April 5-6. 

The convention, “Rebuilding OFPA for the Future” will be held at the NW Arkansas Convention Center in Springdale. Registration is $125 per person in advance and $175 on site and includes workshops, educational sessions, an exposition and a reception. Participants may register online at

The format is changing from that of previous conferences. Instead of a series of several presentations during the morning educational session, there will be two one-hour presentations with short “flash talks” in between. 

“The changes to the convention and exposition will allow more personal interactions with our attendees and our select exhibitors,” said Renee Threlfall, OFPA operations director. “Exhibitors will give one-minute flash talks during the educational sessions to introduce their company products, services or equipment to convention registrants.” 

The activities begin with a golf tournament at 9 a.m. April 5 at Shadow Valley Country Club in Rogers. Events move April 6 to the Holiday Inn Northwest Arkansas Convention Center in Springdale where there will be a business breakfast at 8 a.m. The educational session will feature two presentations during the morning and exhibitor flash talks following welcoming remarks at 8:45 a.m. by Jean-Francois Meullenet, head of the food science department at the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. The schedule is:

  • “Detecting Foodborne Outbreaks: Shoe-Leather Epidemiology to Whole Genome Sequencing” at 9 a.m. by Mansour Samadpour, president of IEH Laboratories and Consulting Group.

    “The industry is now able to use whole-genome sequencing to analyze the DNA of foodborne pathogens and identify which ones are responsible for causing outbreaks,” said Andrea Dunigan, platform quality manager for ConAgra Foods. “This allows investigators and regulatory bodies to identify a matching cluster of illnesses and this allows them to narrow down the list of food sources more quickly to reduce the risk to additional impacted consumers. This presentation will be focused on sharing examples of this powerful tool in recent food industry outbreaks.”
  • “Update on Food Safety Modernization Act and Impacts to the Industry” at 10:50 a.m. by Patrick Pimentel, NSF International technical services manager. 

Three workshops are scheduled for the afternoon of April 6. The first workshop is “Raw Products and Crop Protection” from 1 to 5 p.m. moderated by Boyce Wofford of Sager Creek Vegetable Co. Dunigan will moderate two continuing education credit workshops. They are:

  • “The Write Way” from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. led by consultant Kristen Kastrup on the basics of good business writing.
  • “Product Development from the Retail Perspective” from 3 to 4 p.m. led by Michael Bunn, Sam’s Club senior manager for private brands ad product development, and Susan Brunjes, Nikken Foods USA technical sales representative. 

Lunch will be available from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the annual food processing exposition that continues to 6 p.m. featuring exhibits showcasing products, services and equipment for the food processing industry. A reception is scheduled from 4 to 6 p.m., which includes the opportunity to view students’ work submitted to the poster competition from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. 

“As with all organizations, evolution and change are a natural part of the process of doing business,” said OFPA president Jayson Hayward of Ball Corp. “OFPA is no different and holds especially true for an organization that is more than 100 years old. We have a fantastic opportunity in 2016 to position ourselves to provide value for our members for another 100 years.” 

For more information about the food industry, visit  


The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.   



Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
(501) 671-2126

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