Seminars for identification and quantification of chemical and microbiological hazards in food, beverages, and feed.
There is a lack of public awareness in this field. A link between the educational institutions and the SMEs should be established which is grounded by the organization of these kinds of events. The training seminars are annual, the themes discussed cover information such as food safety, fraud prevention, and consumer care in the production industry. One problem addressed is the deficit on the market of well-trained and skilled personnel, in line with the dynamics of the sector's development. Last but not least is the miscommunication or the lack of communication between the business and the academic sector. Eleven trainings have been organized up to this date, for each consecutive year. The audience varies somewhere between 30-60 participants.
The practice reaches its objective through the provision of important theoretical knowledge of the most common types of pathogenic microorganisms in food and hygiene indicators, modern fast methods for microbiological control, and approaches for their validation, as well as the requirements of the Bulgarian Food Safety Agency for the food chain essentials. There is a potential both “for learning” and for “transfer” because the SMEs involved are sharing with other groups of companies, which consequently learn and transfer the knowledge obtained to other potentially interested parties.
For the organization of a training event in Bulgaria, on a scale of 60 participants, the following resources must be taken into consideration:
- 600 euro for rent and technical equipment
- 1500 euro for preliminary preparation
- 1000 euro for catering services
3100 euro on an overall basis
Evidence of success
- More than 400 persons trained
- 10 topics related to the quality and safety of food and beverages covered during the seminars
- Feedback forms with positive evaluation filled in by the participants
The percentage fluctuates for each year, starting with 25 participants, doubling its amount to 50 participants (50 % increase), then reducing the amount to 40 participants (20% decrease), finally reaching 60 participants (42% increase compared to the first year).
A lot of interest arises from these trainings, each year the events are adapted and modified based on the needs of the trainees, and different food fraud prevention measures are reviewed. No difficulties are encountered at this stage.
Potential for learning or transfer
The unique elements of the trainings are:
- approach based on organisation of regular trainings in order to present innovation in the field of quality and safety;
- The theoretical lectures provided in combination with practical activities combined and interactive sessions;
- The separate sessions at the end where companies present their new products related to the chemical and biochemical analysis;
- possibility for cooperation between interested stakeholders during the seminars (managers and employees in chemical and microbiological laboratories, quality food managers, pharmaceutical and other industries representatives, employees in control bodies and accredited laboratories, university academic staff, researchers from scientific institutes, doctoral students and students.
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