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Viva Fresh Expo Announces 2019 Education Program

viva fresh speakers

Mission, Texas: February 27, 2019: The 2019 Viva Fresh Produce Expo is excited to announce the agenda for this year’s educational sessions.   The lineup will include a wide-range of topics from steps on how to prevent a food-safety crisis to practical applications of the “food as medicine” movement along with retail trends according to Google.

“The educational series will highlight unique opportunities as well as challenges facing the produce industry and this Tex-Mex corridor,” said Melinda Goodman, Managing Partner at Full Tilt Marketing and Education Committee Chair. “From the beginning, a strong education program has been a priority for Viva Fresh and we’re excited about the quality and expertise of the 2019 speakers.”

Topics include:

Steps to Prevent A National Food Safety Crisis: The recent 2018 outbreak involving romaine lettuce resulted in national food safety warnings that cleared shelves across the country right before Thanksgiving.   The crisis isn’t just that the food safety issue occurred, but that multiple instances and prolonged warning periods continued with little to no answers for producers, retailers and consumers.  Dr. Martin Wiedmann, who serves as the Gellert Family Professor of Food Safety at Cornell University, will lead this discussion on how the produce industry can minimize a national food safety crisis with improved tools – like reduced hold wait times by improving speed of traceability, better record keeping, integrated systems and industry collaboration.

What Does Game of Thrones & Digital Engagement Have to do with Online Food Purchases? In 2017, 31% of all food and beverage sales were influenced by digital media representing a $13 billion of a $43 billion industry. It’s no surprise that digital tools and online engagement is taking over all areas of our lives.  Steve Lerch, former Google Executive who has worked with food brands like The National Pork Board and Avocados from Mexico, will address how to make sense of the new digital consumer as they seek purpose, plan, prep and purchase food in the online frontier.

 The Fresh Food Farmacy – Making Patients Healthy Consumers:  In this session, Michelle Ann Passaretti will review how her “food as medicine” approach put medical research into action, combating high obesity rates, pre-diabetes and diabetes by providing fresh, healthy food to those most in need.  The Fresh Food Farmacy helps high risk patients adopt healthy eating practices by making food part of the Rx and making the Farmacy part of their medical treatment.   But most importantly, the Fresh Food Farmacy empowers participants to manage their medical conditions through food-related behavior and lifestyle changes.

The Viva Fresh Education Series will take place on Friday, April 26 at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa as part of the 2019 Viva Fresh Produce Expo. Admission into the educational events is included with registration for Viva Fresh attendees and exhibitors. Visit for more information on the Viva Fresh Educational Series, registration details, or general questions about the show.

About the Viva Fresh Produce Expo

The Viva Fresh Produce Expo was established in 2015 by the Texas International Produce Association (TIPA) in order to create meaningful networking and educational opportunities for its members while shining a light on the importance of the Rio Grande Valley as an emerging trade corridor and production zone for healthy and nutritious fruits and vegetables available all year long. In just four years, the Viva Fresh Produce Expo has catered to sold out crowds and increased buyer attendance by over 110%.