AQIA Annual Meeting / Session : Perspectives on Food Safety and Sustainability

Session Overview

Healthy eating involves providing quality food, free from pathogens, toxins, contaminants and allergens. Hence the importance of food safety in sustainable nutrition. There are many challenges and stakes in this respect in the midst of today’s climatic and ecological upheavals. The program for this session includes scientific lectures, a panel discussion and 300-second presentations of research projects.

Room 202

Chair : Julie Jean – Université Laval
Co-Chair : Anne-Marie Masella – Olymel
Sponsors : EnvironeX, Exceldor, BioMérieuxSani MarcNeogenMAPAQ and CRIBIQ

9:00 AM - 9:40 AM


Emerging/Re-emerging Pathogens and Issues in Microbial Food Safety

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Emerging pathogens pose a substantial risk to animal and human health. Pathogens can emerge due to the acquisition of virulence factors through genetic mutation and horizontal gene transfer and due to ecological processes, that alter their host range. Some of these factors are increasing due to agricultural intensification, demographic shifts, human insurgence into natural ecosystems and global environmental changes.

Global megatrends including globalization, climate change, a growing and aging population, urbanisation, and increased affluence have created new food safety challenges and placed additional demands on producers, manufacturers, retailers and regulators. Advances in science and technology such as whole genome sequencing, developments in tracing and tracking technologies, information computing technology and big data analysis with the help of AI/machine learning have the potential to help mitigate the challenges and meet demands, but can also create new challenges. 

This presentation will cover some of the older established bacterial foodborne pathogens in which interesting new findings have been made, for example, the emergence of Bacillus cereus group bacteria containing anthrax toxin genes typically associated with Bacillus anthracis. It will also address the ever-expanding list of new pathogen-food vehicle outbreak combinations. Potentially emerging pathogens such as Burkholderia cocovenenans have been detected simultaneously in coconut- and corn-based products responsible for foodborne outbreaks in Indonesia, China and Mozambique.

Foodborne viruses continue to be a challenge for both the food industry and regulators, especially in how public health agencies deal with cases where single food samples such as berries become positive for, e.g., hepatitis A on an RT qPCR test, with no additional weight of evidence such as strong epidemiological data.

Besides dealing with the emergence and re-emergence of pathogens, there are also many issues that will affect food safety now and into the future. Some of these include metagenomics/culture-independent diagnostic testing, evolving trends/food markets, plant-based foods/cellular agriculture, reduced food waste, microbiome/probiotics and continued novel modes of food delivery/distribution such as drones and ghost kitchens/food preparation outside the home.

9:40 AM - 10:05 AM


Food Safety:  Future Trends in the Context of Science, Sustainability, and Climate Change

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The food industry accounts for 10% of global GDP, with an $8 trillion global supply chain employing around 1.5 billion people (The Economist, 2020). Sustainability is a broadly used term that indicates programs, initiatives, and/or actions intended to preserve finite resources. Those resources can be classified in four major categories or ‘pillars’ — human, social, economic, and environmental.  They all interact, but this presentation will focus primarily on environmental sustainability as it relates to the human food supply and specifically, food safety.  Many of the major sustainability initiatives can have trickle-down implications, both intended and unintended, on food safety.   From e-commerce and home food delivery to vertical farming to alternative protein sources and nanotechnology-enabled “smart” packaging materials, among many other trends, the adoption of these technologies will almost certainly impact the safety of the food supply.  Climate change in and of itself is already changing the dynamics of food production and processing.  Using concepts and specific examples, this futuristic presentation will cover known and hypothesized impacts of the sustainability movement on the safety of the global food supply.

10:05 AM - 10:30 AM


From Carbon Sequestration in Agricultural Soils to the Table: How to Reach Net Zero in Our Consumer Products While Promoting Food Safety

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Agriculture is the only industry capable of carbon sequestration, thus effectively contributing to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. If all the world’s agricultural soils sequestered 0.4% of carbon annually, the planet would be carbon-neutral! This presentation will explain the important key points of this process, also leading to benefits that promote food safety.

10:30 AM - 11:00 AM

30-Minute Break

11:00 AM - 11:25 AM

Student Presentations

Oral Presentations in 300 Seconds

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Five students or postdoctoral fellows will present their research projects related to themes such as hygiene, food quality, allergens, microbiology, infectious diseases, detection methods, and food sustainability in just 300 seconds, which is 5 minutes.

11:25 AM - 12:00 PM

Panel - in French

Enhancing Collaboration Among Diverse Stakeholders for Safety and Innovation in the Context of Circular Economy

Moderator : Anne-Marie Masella

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Abstract to come.

12:00 PM - 1:30 PM


Lunch : 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM
Poster Session : 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM

Room 200-Exhibitor Area

1:30 PM - 2:00 PM


Icebreaker Activity

The epidemic game involves testing an antiviral developed by a company, which has to test its effectiveness before marketing it.

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Participants are infected by people in the AQIA’s Food Safety Innovation Zone. Infected people must go to the reception booth to receive the antiviral. Once immunised, they must infect three other people to increase the sample of people receiving the antiviral. Upon receiving the antiviral, participants receive a ticket to enter a draw for a pair of AirPods.

Room 205A

2:00 PM - 3:00 PM



Powered by : Consortium for Research and Innovation in Industrial Bioprocesses in Quebec 

Researcher-Industry Networking Activity.

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Do you have innovative ideas for your company? Do you wish to improve or change processes, invest in new equipment?

The aim of this workshop, bringing together industry players and researchers, is to discuss the challenges facing industry in terms of safety and sustainable food practices.

INAF researchers Julie JeanIsmaïl FlissLinda SaucierSamuel GodefroySteve Labrie et Christophe Cordella offer you their expertise in:

  • sustainable processing
  • microbiology
  • virology
  • meat and milk quality
  • analytical techniques
  • analytical chemistry
  • genomics
  • alternatives to antibiotics
  • etc.

A great opportunity to develop research collaborations and business partnerships.

3:00 PM - 3:30 PM

30-Minute Break

Room 200

3:30 PM - 4:30 PM


Booths and Student Posters

Learn more about the companies and experts present at BÉNÉFIQ. Meet the upcoming generation of researchers and their projects that will shape tomorrow’s food products.

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Room 206

4:30 PM - 5:00 PM

AQIA Awards Presentation and BÉNÉFIQ Closing Ceremony

Presentation of awards for the best AQIA oral presentations, the AQIA and BÉNÉFIQ poster competition and the Sustainable Food and Food Safety Innovation Trail games.

Closing ceremony of the event.


Explore the sessions encompassing a wide range of current topics!