Industry leaders meet to discuss food safety
Oklahoma food industry leaders met with Oklahoma State University administration to reinforce the importance of the Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Center in the area of food safety.
Nine members of FAPC's Industry Advisory Committee sat down with OSU President Burns Hargis and Mike Woods, interim vice president, dean and director of the Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, on Aug. 28 to discuss food safety as it relates to the FAPC.
"The reason for our meeting was to bring President Hargis and Dr. Woods up to speed with what we have been doing as an advisory council for the FAPC," said Paul Schatte, co-owner of Head Country Food Products in Ponca City, Okla. "We wanted to get their support and inform them about our vision of developing a food safety program at the FAPC."
The FAPC just recently implemented a new Global Food Safety Initiative program to meet the food safety and security needs of Oklahoma's food industry.
John Williams, president and owner of Chef's Requested Foods in Oklahoma City, said food safety is the No. 1 barrier for most, if not all, food companies.
"I came on this committee not to benefit my company, but to bring value to Oklahoma and how we can advance that through the center," Williams said. "My vision is to incorporate disciplines and make the FAPC a renowned center throughout the nation when it comes to food safety."
Both Hargis and Woods were receptive to the ideas presented during the meeting.
"I can't thank you enough for doing this," Hargis said. "It's a great reality check to have your input. I wish we had more of this across the entire university to make sure we are doing things right."
Roy Escoubas, FAPC director, said it is pleasing to know that the Industry Advisory Committee is completely focused on making the center successful.
"The committee offers counsel, makes decisions and takes leadership action to ensure the FAPC makes sound short- and long-term plans to accomplish its mission and objectives," Escoubas said. "The FAPC is fortunate to have a group of leaders who support our mission and vision, and is willing to take time out of their busy schedules to provide leadership for the benefit of the center."
In addition to Schatte and Williams, other food industry leaders in attendance included John Griffin, Griffin Foods Co. in Muskogee, Okla.; Tommy Kramer, Durant Industrial Authority in Durant, Okla.; Virgil Jurgensmeyer, J-M Foods in Miami, Okla.; Ed Clements, Clements Foods Co. in Oklahoma City; Dave McLaughlin, Advance-Pierre Foods in Oklahoma City; Gary Crane, Ralph's Packing Co. in Perkins, Okla.; and Rodger Kerr, Southwest Technology Center in Altus, Okla.
The FAPC works with food industry leaders around the state to support the growth of value-added food and agricultural products and processing in Oklahoma.