Bob Whitaker, chief science and technology officer for the Produce Marketing Association, is scheduled to lead a discussion of “hot topics” in food safety at the fifth annual Center for Produce Safety research symposium.

He’s one of several fresh produce industry leaders on tap as panel moderators June 24-25 at the Island Hotel in Newport Beach, Calif. The Center for Produce Safety released a draft agenda March 17.

Registration information is at PMA’s Fresh Connections will take place at the same location June 26.

“Hot Topics in Food Safety” is the last of seven symposium sessions. Researchers presenting include:

* Trevor Suslow, University of California, Davis, “Effectiveness of a batch ozonated retail wash system for iceberg lettuce”;

* Nitin Nitin, University of California, Davis, “Rapid assessment of oxidative stress induced in microbes to evaluate efficacy of sanitizers in wash water”;

* Martin Wiedmann, Cornell University, “The role of riparian zones in bacteria dispersal to produce farms”; and

* Diane Wetherington, Intertox, “Identifying causative factors contributing to ‘positive’ leafy green samples.”

Besides Whitaker, moderators include Jim Gorny, vice president of food safety and technology for the Produce Marketing Association, Newark, Del.; Drew McDonald, vice president of quality, food safety and regulatory affairs at Salinas, Calif.-based Church Bros. LLC; Courtney Parker, vice president of food safety and quality at Chiquita Brands International; and Hank Giclas, senior vice president of strategic planning, science and technology for Western Growers Association.

Some participants and session topics are yet to be confirmed. The event was expanded to the two-day format last year.

At Fresh Connections, Whitaker and Gorny will give an overview of the food safety research.