Each year, we get excited about the opportunity to honor our founder, Dr. John H Silliker, through the sponsorship of The John H. Silliker Lecture as part of the annual IAFP program. The annual lecture was established by Mérieux NutriSciences in 2004 to recognize the achievements of Dr. Silliker through the practical application of scientific principles to improve food protection. The John H. Silliker Lecture provides an avenue for recognized experts to present important and timely information on topics of significance to food protection. We could not ask for a better venue than the IAFP Annual Meeting to honor Dr. Silliker’s legacy of 50 years of protecting consumers’ health.

The 2020 chosen lecturer is Dr. Peter Ben Embarek with the World Health Organization. Read on to hear from Dr. Embarek to hear about his presentation at this year’s annual IAFP meeting. 


1. What was the first John H. Silliker Lecture that you remember attending?

I remember Terry Roberts’ lecture as the first one I attended back in 2007. I had missed the previous 3 sessions of IAFP. I knew Terry from my student years when earning my Ph.D.

2. What were your takeaways from past John H. Silliker lectures?

Always, a good mix of excellent science, insights, and some entertaining moments.

3. Tell us about the topic you will be presenting as this year’s John H. Silliker Lecturer.

A new format: This year will be different. The organizers have suggested a different format in the form of an interview rather than the traditional lecture. It is an experiment. We will see how it works. It is also the first time we have it as a recorded event. It will continue to have the atmosphere of the large plenary sessions usually found at the IAFP meetings.

An important topic: This year, I will reflect on the COVID-19 situation and how this and other previous emerging zoonoses have had a link to the way we produce food and interact with animals. As part of that, I will also touch on the food safety work at the international level which I have been part of for many years.

4. What are you most looking forward to in this year’s IAFP conference?

Reconnecting with colleagues, trying to navigate an international online conference. I am sure it will bring a lot of good moments and looking forward to also get inspired by many of the many excellent talks and posters that always characterize IAFP meetings. Stay safe and see you next week!


Looking forward to connecting with everyone at IAFP this year. Contact us for more information.

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