Joint Online Mini-Symposium: GHI, LAFST, NDU, MEFOSA - World Food Safety Day 2024

Date:10 Jun 2024, Time: 10 am CEST

Duration: 5 hours

Celebrating food safety globally is crucial for safeguarding public health by preventing foodborne illnesses and ensuring the availability of safe, nutritious food, and supporting food security. It also promotes economic development by reducing the economic burden of foodborne diseases and enhancing access to global markets through stringent food safety standards. Raising awareness educates and empowers consumers to make informed food choices and advocate for higher standards. Additionally, it encourages governments to strengthen regulatory frameworks and fosters international collaboration and innovation in food safety practices, creating a safer and healthier world. In celebration of the working together to improve food safety across the world, the Global Harmonization Initiative (GHI), Lebanese Association of Food, Science & Technology (LAFST), Notre Dame University-Louaize-Lebanon (NDU) and the Middle East North Africa Food Safety Associates (MEFOSA) are taking this opportunity to host a combined mini-symposium to celebrate World Food Safety Week 2024.

Your hosts for this event are: Dr. Diana Bogueva - President of GHI , Mrs. Rana Cheaito - President of LAFST , Dr. Jessy el Hayek- Dean of the faculty of Nursing and Health Sciences- FNHS at NDU , Mrs. Lina Malaeb from LAFST , Dr. Crystal Ghantous from NDU and Mr. Atef Idriss - CEO of MEFOSA .

We'd also like to thank our organisers of this event - Dr. Aline Issa, NDU and Dr. Christelle Bou-Mitri, NDU .

Our speakers are shown below.

Guest of Honour - Professor Elie Awad, President of the Food Safety Lebanese Commission

A brief synopsis of my career: My name is Elie Awad. I am a food science engineer with a DEA in Quality Assurance and a Ph.D. in Technology in Food and Environment. With 24 years of experience in the food industry and quality systems, I have been dedicated to teaching since 2000 and have been a Professor since 2019. Since 2018, I have held the position of President of the Food Safety Lebanese Commission. Throughout my career, I have published numerous articles on Food Safety and conducted various workshops. I am extremely glad to be part of your World Food Safety Day Symposium to enhance the subject of Food Safety across the Lebanese and international community.

Redefining food safety: the confluence of Web 3.0 and AI technologies in the meat supply chain - a systematic review

Alexandria Nivelle Mekanna, School of Science, Western Sydney University, Richmond, New South Wales, Australia
Web 3.0 and artificial intelligence (AI) have presented unprecedented impact on the food sector. However, there is no clear scientific description yet related to their influences on food safety, quality and traceability across the meat supply chain. This study systematically reviews the available data pertaining to Web 3.0 and related novel technologies, their possible use in the meat supply chain and their confluent effect on meat safety. This systematic review followed the PRISMA methodology. The articles selected were identified by searching three databases: Scopus, Web of Science and PubMed. The search results showed that the meat industry and the meat supply chain have their share of positive implications instigated by Web 3.0 technologies. Web 3.0 technologies are shown to be effective for the food safety of meat from farm to fork, particularly in inspection and quality assessment with blockchain integration enhancing transparency and traceability with innovative approaches promising to improve meat safety, increase profitability, efficiency, scalability and modularisation of meat manufacturing in addition to better adherence to animal welfare increasing and thus consumer confidence. Further research is still needed to examine the role of such technologies at the level of other parts of the supply chain including the pre-processing step, processing and packaging.

Safety of raw vegetables irrigated by contaminated Litani River water in Lebanon

Dr. Mahmoud Halablab, Provost at Rafik Hariri University, Beirut, Lebanon and Member of LAFST
The main aim of this study was to highlight the microbiological quality of one of the major rivers in Lebanon, the Litani River. For several years, the Litani River has been polluted by industrial waste water and untreated sewage waste drenched from several villages and towns situated along the Litani River. Recently, this problem was worsened by the establishment of numerous camps along the riverbanks that are housing thousands of Syrian refugees. Most of the human waste coming from these camps is untreated and again is streamed into the River. Most of the fresh vegetables in the Bekaa Region in Lebanon are irrigated from the Litani River. This situation causes direct negative effects on the environment, public health, and socio-economic development which urge the need for proper management plans for the surface and ground water resources to eradicate or reduce these impacts and pave the way for environmentally sustainable and socioeconomically viable use of these vital resources.

Securing Global Food Systems: Challenges and strategies for ensuring food safety in a globalized world (2028-2030)

Professor Raymond Akiki , President of The American University of Europe (AUE) and Member of LAFST
In an increasingly globalized world, ensuring the safety of our food supply faces unprecedented economic and geostrategic challenges. This presentation delves into the complexities of securing global food systems amidst the economic and geopolitical landscape of the years 2028-2030. We explore how economic disparities, trade dynamics, and geopolitical tensions shape the safety of our food, alongside environmental concerns such as climate change and resource scarcity. Drawing on current research and trends, we analyze the multifaceted nature of these challenges and propose strategies for enhancing food safety. From bolstering regulatory frameworks to fostering international cooperation, we navigate the intricate interplay between economics, geopolitics, and food safety. Through case studies and best practices, we illuminate the path forward, offering insights into how stakeholders can navigate the economic and geostrategic hurdles to safeguard the integrity of our global food systems.

Prepare for the unexpected in food safety: Three real cases in food safety. How we approached them and what would you have done had you been there?

Mr. Samer Harb MSc., Independent Food Safety Consultant, Lebanon and Member of LAFST

I will discuss three real cases that I encountered during my 20 years plus working in the food processing factories in various countries in the Gulf and Mena region.
Describing how we approached these, I will encourage you to consider what you would have done had you been there?
1. Adverse weather problem affected nuts and coffee packing operations in Kuwait 2002.
2. Maintenance issue led to chemical contamination in food catering factory in Riyadh-Saudi Arabia 2007.
3. Breakages of tempered glass plates used for ice-cream cakes in Riyadh-Saudi Arabia 2016.

The role of food safety standards and certifications in the "preparation for the unexpected"

Ms. Zeina Nakat MSc., Agri-food Advisor, Food Safety & Quality Lead Auditor and Trainer, Beirut, Lebanon

Food safety standards have evolved to answer real problems facing the food industry. From the inception of HACCP in the 1960's to the birth of ISO 22000 in 2005 and then the efforts of the Global Food Safety Initiative in benchmarking and recognizing certification schemes such as BRC, IFS and FSSC 22000. Food safety standards keep up with world challenges through frequent revisions and amendments and the active involvement of stakeholders. The implementation of food safety standards within the food organization plays a big role in preparing for the unexpected through determining its context, proper communication and traceability, risk management and emergency preparedness. Not only do food standards save lives (this was 2023 World Food Safety Day theme) through HACCP implementation; but they also play an important role in the "preparation for the unexpected" (the 2024 World Food Safety Day theme).

I'm a SLO: New mindset, better Culture

Dr, Nuno F. Soares, Founder of the SLO movement, Portugal

Imagine trying to build a house starting from the ceiling – it sounds impossible, right? That’s how it feels to develop a strong Food Safety Culture without first laying down a solid foundation. It’s a daunting task, but one that can transform your organization from the ground up.
Many people, when they embark on the journey of enhancing food safety culture, immediately think of tools like surveys, HACCP training sessions, or activities aimed at engaging plant floor workers. These are important, but they often miss a crucial first step – the mindset.
In this webinar, we invite you to take a different approach. We challenge you to start not with the tools and activities, but with the way you and your team think about food safety. This is where real change begins. Get ready to dive into the SLO mindset. It’s an opportunity to fundamentally shift how you perceive and prioritize food safety. You’ll learn why so many professionals have embraced this movement and how it can bring profound, positive changes to your workplace.

Halal and Kosher: Impact on Food Safety and Health Aspects

Professor Joe M. Regenstein, Head of the Kosher and Halal Food Initiative at Cornell University, USA and Vice President of the Global Harmonization Initiative (GHI).

The dietary laws practiced by Muslims and Jews impact the foods they can consume. The need to meet these laws may also impact food safety and health both positively and occasionally negatively. A few examples from halal: The halal laws require complete separation of porcine products from halal acceptable animals. In the modern world most cases of trichinosis occur in beef! Why: Because of a failure to properly clean the meat grinder after running pork through it. Most Muslims would not allow pork to even be handled on the same premises. The ban on alcohol and other drugs helps protect people from themselves. The idea that one should stop eating before eating in excess should help prevent obesity. And a few examples from kosher: The meat after slaughter is soaked, salted, and rinsed. This results in a good cleaning and provides some anti-microbial activity. The removal of specific arteries, veins and the sciatic nerve eliminate potential easy microbial food sources, but also involves additional handling that could increase contamination. The additional inspections of meat religiously beyond that required by the governmental agencies may lead to selection of healthier animals.

World Food Safety Day: Safety is Everyone’s Business

Dr. Isabella Nyambayo, Senior Lecturer, Nutrition and Dietetics, Wrexham University, Wales, United Kingdom
The global population is constantly increasing and focused to reach 9 billion by 2050. Food safety is vital in keeping communities safe from microbial, chemical, and foreign bodies contaminants. Food safety can also entail consumption of food which could potentially cause harm to consumers with physical inabilities due to its texture. For example, the International Dsyphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative(IDDSI) is a tool used to reduce aspirations in dysphagia patients and any other consumers with difficulty in swallowing food and drinks of various textures. Due to nationals driving net zero strategies therefore demands for a healthier and more sustainable diet has put the global food system under pressure to be innovative thereby producing novel foods such as plant based meat alternatives. Plant based meat alternatives are perceived to be more sustainable and healther than meat products. However, depending on the ingredients these plant based meat alternatives can introduce texture deviations in some of theses food products as well as allergens into the diet.
World Food Safety day aims to bring awareness of food safety for everyone from farm to fork. The critical control points varies with food products and some of the contaminations might be due to food preparation methods by the consumers. It is really critical for everyone to be ready for the unexpected when implementing food safety at all levels. This presentation will discuss the challenges of keeping the food safe for all population groups and some of the tools available as food safety is everyone’s business.

Ethics in Food Safety Practices

Dr. Peter Overbosch, Chair of the GHI Ethics in Food Safety Practices Working Group, affiliation Metro AG (retired)
The GHI Working Group on Ethics in Food Safety Practices aims to develop insights and instruments to spread the understanding of ethical behaviour and its practical application in Food Safety. Considering that a proper education in Food Safety is a prerequisite for the ability to act ethically, a GHI proposal was developed to make “Food Safety Professional” into a regulated profession. Next steps are discussed, including a proposal to extend Food Safety education to High School level.
Whistle-blowing, the safety valve of Food Safety systems, is another priority for the Working Group. A multi-country survey showed many gaps and inconsistencies in Whistle-blowing related legislation and we intend to develop a GHI Whistle-blowing proposal.
Other topics that are on our agenda include Food Waste and Food & New Technologies. The presentation will provide an overview of our efforts and goals.

Speaker 1:
Alexandria Nivelle Mekanna

Alexandria Nivelle Mekanna is currently a PhD student at Western Sydney University, School of Science in Public Health Nutrition. Prior to this she gained a Nutrition and Dietetics - Notre Dame University Louaize and an MSc. in Food Safety and Quality management also at Notre Dame University Louaize. She has also worked in Food safety and qualityt assurance and as a clinical nutritionist at the Ministry of Public Health in Lebanon (2017 to 2020). She is also a visiting lecturer and research assistant at Western Sydney University. She has published work on: occurrence and exposure to glyphosate present in bread and flour products in Lebanon (2022), a systematic literature review of the impacts of COVID-19 lockdowns on dietary patterns, physical activity, body weight and food security (2022) and redefining food safety: the confluence of Web 3.0 and AI technologies in the meat supply chain - a systematic review and this is the subject of her current webinar talk.

Speaker 2:
Dr. Mahmoud Halablab

Dr. Mahmoud Halablab earned MSc. in Medical Microbiology from London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and PhD from King’s College London, University of London. Dr. Halablab was appointed a university professor at King’s College and spent more than 15 years as an academic before joining Rafik Hariri University in 2009 as a full-time university Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences. He published more than 60 peer-reviewed research papers, a textbook entitled “Infection and Immunity”, and textbook chapters. Some of his research articles have been published in highly prestigious academic journals, including The Lancet, one of the world's top medical journal and another article in Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal published by CDC, Atlanta. He named three new bacteria that have formally been accepted by the International Committee on Systematics of Prokaryotes.
Currently, Dr. Mahmoud Halablab is the Provost at Rafik Hariri University

Speaker 3:
Professor Raymond Akiki

Professor Raymond W. Akiki is a distinguished leader renowned for his exceptional ability to build relationships, foster collaboration, and drive forward momentum in the business world. With extensive experience as a President, Chairman, CEO, consultant, and academic, Raymond's impact spans across various sectors. Coming from a culturally diverse background, Raymond's upbringing instilled in him a deep appreciation for global perspectives and cross-cultural understanding. His academic journey reflects his dedication and intellectual prowess, holding advanced degrees in Management, International Relations, and Education. As a speaker, Raymond captivates audiences with his engaging presence and thought-provoking presentations on topics ranging from economic development to technological advancements. Beyond his professional achievements, Raymond is deeply committed to social causes, volunteering his time and expertise to empower marginalized communities and promote sustainable development. Recognized internationally, he has spoken at numerous conferences, shaping conversations and inspiring change. Raymond's leadership trajectory has seen him excel in executive roles, guiding multinational corporations and educational institutions. Currently serving as the President of the American University of Europe (AUE), he also dedicates himself to teaching management and education courses and mentoring students. With over 25 years of management experience, Raymond has orchestrated turnarounds, launched new institutions, and implemented innovative programs. His dedication to academia is evident through his extensive publication record and mentorship of countless students. In summary, Dr. Raymond Akiki's global influence and commitment to positive change have established him as an exceptional leader. His transformative accomplishments and ability to drive collaboration make him a compelling speaker and catalyst for growth.

Speaker 4:
Mr. Samer Harb, MSc.

As an independent food safety consultant, Samer Harb has more than 20 years of experience in the food industry in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Kuwait, and Bahrain in big major companies in the fields of bakery products, pastry, diet and healthy foods, meat, vegetable and salad processing, nuts, coffee and catering. He embarked on his career with a MSc. in Food Technology (1997) and BSc. in Nutrition and Dietetics (1995), both from the American University of Beirut. In October 2018, Samer Harb became the first Lebanese Certified Food Scientist (CFS) among only 1900 scientists in the world receiving this status from the International Food Science Certification Commission.

Speaker 5:
Ms. Zeina Nakat MSc.

Zeina Nakat is a seasoned nutritionist/food scientist, with strong expertise in food safety and quality certification and training, agro-food processing and formulation, labeling and export compliance as well as technical writings and curricula development. Her knowledge in the agro-food sector exceeds 20 years of local and regional experience including MENA and USA. Her passion for the field started at her first job as a quality manager in the USA after finishing her Master’s degree at Rutgers University. Zeina Nakat is currently a food safety expert and a Preventive Controls Qualified Individual (PCQI) under the FDA FSMA regulations. She is also a lead auditor (ISO 9001, HACCP, ISO 22000, FSSC 22000) at AFNOR Groupe and an adjunct faculty member at Notre Dame University (NDU). In addition, she is a CQI IRCA trainer for the British Standards Institution (BSI). Her local contribution to the field of food safety and quality ranges from developing university curricula to building bridges between academia and ministries as well as providing certifications and trainings. Since 2019, Zeina Nakat has diversified her activities and provides coaching services and technical support to Lebanese startups in product formulation and compliance, shelf life and labeling in order to achieve export potential (Berytech, UNDP, USAID, Fair Trade).

Speaker 6:
Dr. Nuno F. Soares

In the 24 years as a food product engineer, Dr. Soares undertook many challenges and assignments. Since his first professional experience, he is used to working together with people as a quality and production manager. Later in his career he realised the importance of understanding the 'big picture' and took a Master's in Business Administration. In his PhD he investigated a new approach to frozen fish glazing, hoping to change some industry paradigms. In 2018, he had the honour to be presented with the title of 'Food Engineer Specialist' by the Portuguese Engineering Professional Association. He says that every day he becomes more passionate about sharing knowledge and developing people. As a consequence, in the last few years, he has started publishing books and articles on the topics of food safety. Recently he founded "The Why of Food Safety - I'm a SLO'' initiative bringing food safety professionals together around the idea that we should be our organizations 'Saving Lives Officer'. Nowadays, he works exclusively in helping food safety professionals achieve a more fulfilling career based on improving knowledge, improving competences and a growing mindset.

Speaker 7:
Prof. Joe M. Regenstein

Joe M. Regenstein is an Emeritus Professor in the Department of Food Science at Cornell University, USA. He received a B.A. in chemistry from Cornell`s College of Arts and Sciences, an MS in dairy chemistry from CALS, and a PhD in biophysics from Brandeis University in Waltham, MA. He joined Cornell faculty in 1974 and is a member of the Field of Food Science and the Field of International Development. He is an Adjunct Professor in Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences in the Vet School, a member of the Governing Board of the Science of Natural and Environmental Systems (SNES) program, and Head of the Kosher and Halal Food Initiative. He is also an Adjunct Professor in the Food Industry Program at Kansas State University.

Speaker 8:
Dr. Isabella Nyambayo

Dr. Isabella Nyambayo is a Senior Lecturer at Wrexham University in Wales, UK. She completed her PhD in Analytical Biochemistry at the University of Zimbabwe in 1999; an MSc in Human Nutrition and Metabolism at Aberdeen University (UK) in 2003. Dr. Nyambayo has food science and nutrition teaching experience in HE and industry experience on product design and quality control (Lever Brothers (Unilever), Zimbabwe). With research interests including food science, sensory science, and nutrition encompassing food & nutrient security and sustainability, her main research projects are on food & nutrient security and sustainability, predominantly focusing on new product design of free from foods (gluten and dairy) and protein alternatives and their texture profile and sensory evaluation. Other research projects focus on association of health, food preference, and consumer perceptions with bitterness (TAS2R38, TAS2R16), sweetness (TAS1R2, TAS1R3), ACE2, and CD36 genotypes of different population groups and their susceptibility to communicable and non-communicable diseases. Dr. Isabella Nyambayo worked with other GHI members to write a book on ‘Consumer perceptions and Food’ (in preparation) and is also collaborating with other HE colleagues (national and international) on projects working on food and nutrient security and sustainability in Wales.

Speaker 9:
Dr. Peter Overbosch

Dr. Peter Overbosch worked until 2014 as Vice President of Corporate Quality Assurance, Metro Cash & Carry (based in Düsseldorf, Germany) and before that as Senior Director Quality Kraft Foods Europe, Middle East & Africa (Munich, Germany), Senior Director Quality Kraft Foods Latin America (East Hanover, NJ, USA), VP of Quality at Nabisco Inc (East Hanover, NJ, USA) and Head of Quality for Unilever Foods worldwide (Rotterdam, Netherlands). He has developed and implemented global quality systems at all these companies, has driven multi-site ISO 9001 and ISO 22000 certification across Latin America and Europe. Dr. Overbosch is currently working with the European Hygienic Engineering and Design Group (EHEDG) and GFSI to integrate hygienic design requirements into the GFSI/CPO series of standards. Peter is currently the chair of the GHI Working Group on Ethics in Food Safety Practices.

Chairs & Event Moderators:

Dr. Diana Bogueva - President of GHI

Dr. Diana Bogueva, is the newly elected President of the Global Harmonization Initiative. Her background is as a social scientist and journalist with interests in sustainable food consumption, alternative proteins, consumer perception of novel food processing technologies and generational consumer behaviour, food sustainability and harmonization. Diana’s work has won three awards: the Australian National Best Book winner in 2019 and the World’s Best Book award 2020 in the Vegetarian book category at the prestigious 24th and 25th Gourmand Awards, considered equivalent to the Oscars in the area of food books, for her co-edited book ‘Environmental, Health and Business Opportunities in the New Meat Alternatives Market’. She also won the 2020 Faculty of Humanities Journal Article of the Year Award at Curtin University for their co-authored paper “Planetary Health and reduction in meat consumption”, which was at the top 5% of all world research outputs scored by Altmetrics. Diana is also a finalist in the 10th International Book Award at America’s Book Fair 2019 for her co-edited book ‘Handbook of Research on Social marketing and its influence on animal origin food product consumption’. In 2022 Diana published her first co-authored book ‘Food in a Planetary Emergency’ with Professor Dora Marinova. This book is a timely overview of current food systems and the required transformations to respond to climate change, population pressures, biodiversity loss and use of natural resources. And, in May 2023, as a tribute to the authors' efforts, talented writing skills and passion, ‘Food in a Planetary Emergency’ was awarded the 'Best of the Best - The Future of Food Gourmand Award’ at the 28th Award Ceremony. In 2024, Diana's co-authored book 'Nutrition Science, Marketing Nutrition, Health Claims and Public Policy' published by Elsevier, was a finalist for the Association of America publisher's award for the professional and scholarly publishing PROSE award.

Mrs. Rana Cheaito - President of LAFST

Mrs. Rana Cheaito has been President at LAFST Lebanese Association of Food Science & Technology since 2021 & (Co-Officio) 2018-2020. She started her food career with a Masters in Food Science Technology where she conducted a research project on the effect of feed on the fatty acid profile of cows' milk at the Lebanese University / Faculty of Sciences - Hadath, Lebanon. She has ”Maitrise-sciences” In Chemistry (M1) and a Teaching Diploma in Sciences, in which her senior project for the graduate year explored: Environmental Effects on Prostate Cancer (DDT Extraction & DNA). She is currently an AICE- Subject matters expert, trainer in food safety, development and implementation of ISO 9001 & ISO 22000 in various establishment in Lebanon and Congo-Kinshasa.

Lina Malaeb (Moderator - LAFST)

Mrs. Lina Malaeb has been the vice president of the Lebanese Association of food scientists and Technologists since 2021. She is an experienced food safety specialist and nutritionist. She has strong expertise in quality control, food labeling, food production and product development. She started her career in 2017 and continued her progress in the field of food safety, quality control and food production ever since. She is experienced in the implementation of BRC standards, ISO 22000 and HACCP standards. She is a certificated internal auditor.

Dr. Jessy el Hayek- Dean of the faculty of Nursing and Health Sciences- FNHS at NDU

Dr. El Hayek is currently the Dean of the Faculty of Nursing & Health Sciences (FNHS) and Associate Professor of Nutrition in Notre Dame University-Louaize-Lebanon (NDU). She holds a PhD in Human Nutrition from McGill University-Canada. She completed an online specialization in Social Entrepreneurship from Copenhagen Business School. Since then, she has been fascinated with the field of Entrepreneurship to create social change and has been involved in multiple collaborations to foster entrepreneurship initiatives at the national level. Her major research interests include vitamin D, its skeletal and extraskeletal functions, particularly those related to the prevention of chronic diseases, which has led to a long track of research papers in well-reputed journals. Recently, Dr. El Hayek is collaborating with international researchers in projects revolving around the Mediterranean diet and maternal and child outcomes.

Dr. Crystal Ghantous (Moderator - NDU)

Dr. Crystal Ghantous is an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Sciences at the Faculty of Nursing and Health Sciences at Notre Dame University-Louaize, Lebanon. She earned her Ph.D. degree in Biomedical Sciences (Specialty: Physiology) with Distinction from the Faculty of Medicine at the American University of Beirut in 2017. Dr. Ghantous’s main research interests include hypertension, adipokines, and vascular remodeling. She has extensively examined the molecular mechanisms of hypertension-induced vascular hypertrophy and the role of adiponectin and leptin in this process. Dr. Ghantous has also received several awards from national and international institutions, including the American Physiological Society and International Atherosclerosis Society.

Mr. Atef Idriss - CEO OF MEFOSA

Mr. Atef Idriss is the President / CEO of MEFOSA SARL (Middle East North Africa Food Safety Associates) and sits at the board of several corporations, holding companies and related food industries. MEFOSA was established in 2005 as a leading edge company that provides consultation, research, services, technology transfer, traceability, ICT and E-Commerce solution in Food Safety, security and defence.
He has vast experience in working in the food industry in the Arab region, he started his career more than 30 years ago in Technical Services, at Trivalley Growers Ca- USA and built up his career to Chairman and CEO of Conserves Moderns Chtaura SAL
He is board member of Widriss Holdings, and is the Founding President of SLFI (Syndicate of Food Industries), President of LAMA (Association of Marketing and Advertising), VP. of LAoFST (Association of Food Scientists and Technologists), and VP. LAND (Association of Nutrition and Dietetics). He is a professional member of IFT and IUoFST. His CSR initiatives include Al- Wafic (for Economic Development and Investment) (NGO) and Agripole (NGO) the first business development center for SMEs in the Arab region that addresses KBBE (Knowledge Based Bio-Economy) development issues. Al-Wafic provides the MENA region with advanced solutions that can service agro-economic sustainability using simple market access tools and techniques. Atef completed his basic education in Agricultural Sciences at the American University of Beirut, he also holds a BSc degree in Food Sciences from the University of California- Davis and has completed several advanced Food courses including Food Marketing, Quality, Safety, Security and Food Defence courses in major US and EU institutions.

Event Organisers

Dr. Aline Issa - NDU

Dr. Aline Issa is an Assistant Professor at Notre Dame University- Louaize, Lebanon at the Faculty of Nursing and Health Sciences (FNHS), with a PhD in Food Science and a Masters degree in Food Safety and Quality Management. She is an experienced educator with a demonstrated history in the education management industry; skilled in Research, Biotechnology, Microbiology, Food Science, and Food Sustainability. Dr. Issa is a member of several research institutes and organizations, including but not limited to: Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology (AIFST), Global Harmonization Initiative (GHI) and a board member/consultant of the Lebanese Association of Food Scientists and Technologists (LAFST), a member of PIMENTO WG3 “Health benefits and risks of fermented foods”, and a co-leader of S8 working group. Furthermore, she is a Preventive Control Qualified individual (PCQI). Dr. Issa believes in bridging academia and research and for that she is an active collaborator on various international projects, most of them focus on the role and benefits of microorganisms on the functionality of fermented foods.

Dr. Christelle Bou-Mitri - NDU

Dr. Christelle Bou-Mitri is an Associate Professor of Food Science, at the Faculty of Nursing and Health Sciences at Notre Dame University-Louaize. She is an active member of LAFST and GHI. Dr. Bou-Mitri received her Ph.D. Degree in Food Science and Agricultural Chemistry from McGill University (Quebec, Canada). She has more than 15 years of experience in the food industry with a focus in research and development, project management, food safety and quality management. She is a consultant and trainer for several international organizations. Having multidisciplinary skills combining food sciences, chemistry and enzyme technology; her overall research work aims to contribute to the sustainability of the Agri-food sector, while meeting the ever-changing consumer demand and alleviating food hunger. Her research was funded so far by the NSERC, AUF, FRQ, CNRS-L, USAID, EU Tempus, DAAD, the Embassy of the Netherland and EU. She is the recipient of the Innovation Award by the Industrial Research Achievement - Lebanon (IRALEB) & Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) and the Principal Award (McGill University, Canada). She had been selected as the SHE Entrepreneur for 2023 by the Swedish Institute.