2023 Program

March 30-31; Chicago, IL

Day 1 - 30th

Registration & Refreshments
Food Based on Animal Ingredients is a Big Market Segment, but Can we Demonstrate the Sustainability Behind Animal Protein
Reflection on Food Safety Culture, Food Safety Management Principles and Analytical Testing

Fabien Robert, Head of Zone AMS for Nestlé Quality Assurance Centres, Nestle

This presentation will give invite us to reflect on the different elements required to ensure a proper food safety management in food manufacturing business.

The Intersection of Sustainability and Product Safety & Quality at Starbucks

Jennifer Connell, Director, Product Safety & Quality, Starbucks

In 2018, Starbucks announced its intention to eliminate single-use plastic straws from stores by launching strawless lid or alternative-material straw options for all markets around the world. The company anticipates this move will eliminate more than one billion plastic straws per year. In this session, Jennifer Connell, Starbucks Director of Product Safety & Quality - Beverages, will share key sustainability priorities, and a deeper look how Starbucks accomplished this goal through the lens of food safety and quality.

Food Defense and the FBI

In this session, representatives from FBI Chicago will provide an overview of how threats against the food sector have evolved, how FBI Chicago assesses the threat will move forward, and how to partner with your local FBI field office. Your FBI investigates potential threats against the food sector. The FBI would like to partner with your team to protect our food supply, your employees, and your company.

1-2-1 Meetings & Networking Refreshments
A Predictive Quality and Error Proof Food Safety Journey

Brian Perry, Chief Safety Officer, TreeHouse Foods

Share in the learnings from the TreeHouse Foods’ Food Safety and Quality journey to build in statistical process control for product quality and a multiple hurdle approach to food safety as part of TreeHouse Management Operating System (TMOS).

Solution Spotlight: Driving Better Business Outcomes: The Value of Unifying Food Safety & Quality

Geert van Kempen, Head of Food & Beverage Strategy , Veeva Systems

Across the world, foods and beverages define the human experience - from essential nutrients to enjoyment to deep social traditions. In the Food & Beverage (F&B) industry, food safety, trust, and quality are imperatives, demanding the highest global process and practice standards.

Learn why F&B market leaders are investing in cloud technology solutions to unify food safety and quality management, enabling them to bring consistently safe, trusted, and more sustainable products to market faster.

In this session, you’ll hear how Veeva’s cloud software solutions for the F&B industry are:

  • Empowering market leaders advance their reputations
  • Drive better business outcomes
  • Stay ahead of their competition
  • Helping to reduce resources with our digital Certificate of Analysis (CoA) processing capabilities
Solution Spotlight: Food Defense – Bridging the Gap Between Food Safety and Cybersecurity

Neil Coole, Director – Food & Retail Sector, BSI Americas

Digitalization is already having a transformative effect on food and beverage supply chains, improving efficiency and transparency, reducing cost and boosting sustainability while creating conditions for more resilient business practices. However, with this evolution in the industry there are areas of vulnerability, from food defense plans being updated, innovation and operational technologies through to TACCP teams and how they are evolving to encompass the exposures that come with technology?

In this session you will have the opportunity to learn about the emerging cybersecurity threats and attacks against the food and beverage industry, the different types of attacks, motivation of the attackers and how food safety professionals can take proactive steps to build more resilient systems to reduce the likelihood of a successful attack against your organization.

Attendees will have access to a complimentary copy of PAS 96:2017 – Guide to protecting and defending food and drink from deliberate attack.

Networking Lunch

Roundtable by TraceGains

The Road To Food Safety Success

Sonny Brar, Global VP of Food Safety, Quality Assurance and Occupational Health & Safety, Fiera Foods

Across the globe, food safety legalisation, expectations and compliance is enhancing. As food safety focused companies drive for food safety excellence, there are internal and external challenges that come along the way. However, with every challenge, comes opportunity.

In this session, we will share real life experiences and provide insights on what employers can do inside their facilities to ensure internal and external success. Starting from receiving, supply chains, audits, workplace inspections, HACCP, verification procedures, QA corrective actions, documentation, training and overall continuous improvement.

In this session we will cover:

  • Effective Food Safety Onboarding
  • Leadership and Communication styles
  • How to ensure food safety Preventative measures , that are both time and resource intensive
  • Improving quality, efficiency, and overall food safety management system
  • Ensuring overall Road To Food Safety success
Simulation to Identify Challenges and Opportunities in Food Safety Product Testing in a Modern Low-Risk Food System

Matthew Jon Stasiewicz, Associate Professor of Applied Food Safety, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Modern food systems thankfully create products rarely contaminated with foodborne pathogens. Yet in this rare contamination system it is difficult to use current product testing for direct risk management. And one can typically not carry out physical experiments to test many food safety questions, as the scales may be too large and experiments may be impractical due to very rare positives.

This talk will describe how simulation can help define appropriate roles for product testing by matching sampling plans to likely hazards. The talk will discuss examples from literature on residual risks and active research projects on produce and diary powder testing for bacterial pathogens, and cereals testing for mycotoxins.

Solution Spotlight: Maximizing ROI Through Food Safety & Sanitation Execution

Randy Kohal, VP Food Safety and Reliability, KLEANZ Food Safety Technologies

Companies and operations with the most effective food safety and sanitation programs all prioritize a food safe culture and understand that food safety extends beyond daily cleaning. A food safe culture starts at the top and trickles down to all job titles and roles. This simple understanding that food safety is everyone’s responsibility is the strongest defense against recalls, risk to brand reputation, risk to consumers, loss of profits, and more.

We will explore what it takes to actively streamline food safety for ROI and move an operation toward continuous improvement.

  • Implementing a food safety plan that encompasses planning, execution, and tracking
  • Removing “siloed” information from one department or one set of binders
  • Using digitization as a tool
  • Decreasing the burden of documentation and increasing transparency
  • Having transparency for decision making
Solution Spotlight: How Connected Workers Drive Food Safety on the Factory Floor

Richard Milnes, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Zaptic

Drawing on a unique vantage point of working with a wider variety of manufacturers Richard will compare two companies: One with a disconnected shop floor and how this leads to a poor food safety culture and one which augments it’s workers with the right information and tools to drive accountability & professionalism on the shop floor.

1-2-1 Meetings & Networking Refreshments
Merging Different Cultures and Quality Systems
Sanitary Design of Packing Equipment

Kim Snyder, Food Safety Consultant, Independent

  • Importance of sanitary design in food handling equipment. It is critical for food companies to recognize the risks inherent in poorly designed equipment.
  • Common design flaws will be presented. These flaws result in an inability to access and clean packing equipment and potentially contribute to pathogenic contamination.
  • Best practices in design to be reviewed.
  • Successful project execution tips.

Solution Spotlight: Harnessing Networked Data to Drive Continuous Improvement

Sara Jane Bellocchi, Networked Ingredients Functional Consultant, TraceGains

Chances are you’re sitting on a goldmine. The data contained in your supplier and quality documentation can be used to optimize manufacturing, supplier and material performance, even help power ESG initiatives. Unlock powerful insights by making data visible and actionable at every stage of your operation.

Solution Spotlight: Jaime’s Dilemma: How Inefficiencies on the Frontline Put Quality at Risk

Josh Santo, Director of Product Strategy, Parsable

Factory Director of a major food manufacturer, Jaime Urquidi, faced two major problems — customer complaints and risk of recalls. However, after reviewing quality control records, Jaime found that all required checks and inspections were completed without finding a single abnormality. As Jaime dug into the root cause, he found four major inefficiencies impacting his frontline operations. Join this session to learn what Jaime discovered and how he enabled his team to make and sustain improvements.

Transformational Leadership. The Key to Advancing Mainstream Food Safety Systems

Adeniyi Odugbemi, PhD, Global Director of food safety & food defense, ADM

Effective leaders listen, guide, and motivate others to use change as a positive force to explore innovation and inspire action. Transformational leaders are the heart of inventive, meaningful, and sustainable change in food processing. Transformational leaders focus less on making decisions or establishing strategic plans, and more on facilitating organizational collaboration that can help drive a vision forward. This makes leadership very important to business growth and success. The role of having the right leadership to shepherd the adoption of the right food safety systems and culture in the food industry value chain is vital in the quest for food safety, food security, and food sustainability.

This presentation will expose how food facilities leaders and the entire food value chain can adopt the right systems and appropriate leadership concepts alongside integrity mantras that are vital for the future of the industry. Wise leaders tune into workplace culture trends and plan to help their organization and employees flourish. The front-line manager is the key link between the employee and the organization. This presentation will further define how a strong connection is at the heart of employee retention in the workplace. As you think about these trends and how they impact your organization, how can leaders prepare themselves and their team for this rapidly evolving season? This presentation will review assumptions about high-impact strategies that are worth investing time and resources in pursuing. High impact means the effort aims to change the mindset that created the organization or system of organizations.

Chair's Closing Remarks & End of Day 1

Evening Drinks Reception

Day 2 - 31st

Registration & Refreshments
Learning and Best Practices from a Cultural Transformation

Hugo Gutierrez, Global Chief Quality & Food Safety Officer, Kerry

  • Build a ‘Safety First-Quality Always’ Culture within the global organisation, ensuring consistently superior quality, safety and sustainability for all stakeholders
  • Ensure all production facilities are optimally managed and operating at globally superior standards for food quality, health, safety and environment
  • Develop our diverse, mobile, and globally connected talent capability and build a sustainable pipeline of future leaders in QHSE and the broader organisation.
Pathogen Monitoring and Knowing when Things are Improving, Stable, or Falling Apart

Daniel Zelenka, Vice President Food Safety and Quality Assurance, Laboratory Network Services, Tyson Foods

This presentation will explore a statistical method for monitoring and gaining statistically sound knowledge of the process’ s performance. It will also demonstrate how to measure improvements over time, as well as catch process deterioration over time.

Food Safety & Sustainability, Water Risk Assessment

Ana C. Morales Cardenas, Global Director Food Safety , Grupo Bimbo

Key role that Food Safety processes play in Sustainability regarding water footprint.

Solution Spotlight: Mitigating Risks in Your Food Safety Program

Sandra Johnson, Ph.D., Senior Director of Operations, SGS North America, Inc.

  • Investing in monitoring programs and taking the necessary steps to detect potential problems before consumer consumption
  • Developing and improving sampling tools to help the industry in their sanitary process
  • Looking at monitoring and testing as ways to verify that preventive controls are working
  • Creating a positive change in the methods of work done in food testing labs and highlighting the importance of sterility, dependability, and consistency

Solution Spotlight: Comply with FSMA 204 Using Tech-Enabled Traceability Solutions

Julie McGill, Vice President, Supply Chain Strategy and Insights , Trustwell

Under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Section 204, the FDA will now require food manufacturers, retailers, distributors, and restaurant chains to establish and maintain systems for tracking and tracing products on the Food Traceability List. Traditional methods of compliance, such as paper records, can be time-consuming and prone to errors. However, by utilizing tech-enabled traceability solutions, companies can streamline their compliance efforts and ensure accurate and efficient traceability of their products.

This session will explore the latest standards-based approach for tech-enabled traceability to support FSMA 204 compliance. We will discuss best practices for implementing traceability and the benefits it offers, including improved operational efficiency, accuracy, and the ability to quickly respond to food safety issues. We will also provide practical tips for working with supply chain partners and how to overcome potential challenges.

  • An overview of the FDA’s final traceability rule,
  • How major brands have built advanced traceability programs.
  • How to get started with tech-enabled traceability and prepare for the new recordkeeping requirements.

1-2-1 Meetings & Networking Refreshments
USDA-ARS Food Safety Interventions Research

Brendan Niemira, Research Leader of the Food Safety and Intervention Technologies Unit, USDA

  • USDA food scientists developing new intervention technologies.
  • Improve food safety and shelf life while retaining quality and nutritional value.
  • Case studies of cold plasma, radio frequency pasteurization, and active packaging.

Foodborne pathogens cause millions of illnesses every year. A variety of intervention technologies have been advanced in recent years to expand on the suite of tools available to food processors. At the US Department of Agriculture’s Eastern Regional Research Center near Philadelphia, PA, scientists and engineers have focused on developing new ways to improve food safety and shelf life while retaining quality and nutritional value. This presentation will give an overview of this research, presenting case studies on newer approaches such as cold plasma, high intensity light treatments, radio frequency pasteurization, and active packaging.

How to Survive 30 Years as a Quality Manager

Katie Burell, Senior Director – North American Quality , ASR Group

This session will highlight how to stay motivated and engaged while navigating the sometimes overwhelming challenges of Quality Management.

How Quality and Food Safety Culture, Programs and Technology Together Can Deliver Best-in-Class Performance

Arnie Sair, Head of Global Quality & Food Safety, Bunge

  • Current Quality & Food Safety (QFS) challenges in the industry
  • High performing Quality & Food Safety teams and culture drive results
  • Prioritization of key food safety programs for risk mitigation
  • Enhanced food safety performance through digitalization

The New Era of the Food Safety Executive
Networking Lunch

Networking Lunch & Roundtables

Roundtable title: Is There a Future for Plant-based and Alternative Proteins?

After years of growth and hype, meat alternatives are experiencing higher scrutiny among consumers and capital markets in the US and other international markets. What does the future look like for this still fledgling industry? What needs to happen for consumers to embrace alt-protein massively? What are the white spaces of opportunity that lie ahead?

Standardizing Growth: Creating New Pathways for Changing Culture

Melanie Braam​, Director of Quality Assurance, Palermo's Pizza

  • Exploring leadership turnover, lessons in strategy from the greats, and gaining trust
  • Rebuilding department structure and clearly defining roles and goals
  • Exploring Lean Manufacturing and Quality Culture

Microbial Genomics Tools for Improving Food Safety

Renmao Tian, Research Scientist, Illinois Institute of Technology

Here at the IFSH HTS Lab, we have developed developed three microbial genomics tools to improve food safety. ASAP 2 is an automated pipeline for analyzing amplicon sequencing data, providing accurate and consistent taxonomic classification, diversity analysis, and community composition profiling. PlasmidHunter is a machine learning-based tool for predicting plasmid sequences from genomic and metagenomic data, identifying plasmid sequences, which could contain antibiotic resistance genes, virulence factors, and other genes affecting food safety. VBCG is a set of 20 validated bacterial core genes with high fidelity and resolution for phylogenomic analysis, identifying bacterial species and strains, and tracing and typing foodborne pathogens.

These tools offer new opportunities for food safety researchers to study microbial populations, plasmids, and phylogenetic relationships with high accuracy and efficiency, helping to identify foodborne pathogens, track their transmission, and study their evolution and adaptation in different environments.

Uniting to Achieve Supreme Sanitation

Erin Garcia, Food Safety Scientist, Taco Bell

  • Collaborating with team and partners to achieve common goals
  • Using existing resources to enhance procedures
  • Utilizing programs to verify progress
How to Respond to the Barrage of New Discoveries and Technologies, and How Not To

Behzad Imanian, Ph.D., Research Assistant Professor; Leader IFSH HTS Initiative, Illinois Institute of Technology

New scientific discoveries and technologies are emerging at an unprecedented rate, and they are transforming the world and almost every aspect of our lives. This is both exciting and overwhelming. Ignoring these developments is as unwise as keeping up with them is challenging.

Some organizations have responded to these changes more effectively than others, allowing them to not only adapt and survive, but also to thrive. In this presentation, I will explore a few examples to highlight the good, the bad and the ugly responses to the new discoveries and technologies with a special focus on the development and implementation of sequencing technology in food safety systems. 

Global Allergen Labelling and Claims Compliance – Taking a Closer Look at Global Differences

Miriam Maxwell, Research Fellow, Global Scientific & Regulatory Affairs, Ocean Spray Cranberries

  • Outlining the addition of sesame as a major food allergen and the global community’s increased focus on allergens;
  • Outlining current USA and Canada allergens and considering what else may join the list in the future?
  • Determining the implications of the addition of sesame to the FDA’s allergens list;
  • Detailing internationally listed allergens, specifically in: Australia/New Zealand, Japan, EU, Taiwan and Russia
  • Examining how international definitions of gluten free may vary in different countries

Recycled PET in Food Packaging – Food Safety Risk Assessment and Regulatory Compliance

Jeannie Kim, PhD. Senior Manager, North America Quality and Food Safety, Pepsico

Plastic is a versatile material and protects safety, quality of the products, making it ideal for many critical food and beverage applications. However, much of our plastic is not circular today. By 2050, there will be 12 billion tons of plastic in the environment. To prevent this, we must take responsibility for the products we make. As a part of our PEP+ sustainability efforts, we are making changes to how we use plastic in our manufacturing processes.

In this presentation, we will discuss global & local impact of plastic waste, importance of sustainable packaging, regulatory status of recycled PET in top markets, overview of recycling process, overview of food safety/regulatory approval per type of recycling process and challenge to success to build a world where plastic never becomes waste.

Food Safety in The News: Fighting the Social Media War

Adeniyi Odugbemi, PhD, Global Director of food safety & food defense, ADM

New regulations, incidences, new technologies, and other happenings continue to shape the way food businesses are operated and the impact that food has on the lives of consumers. The diffusion of online fake news about food is becoming increasingly fast-paced and widespread, making it more difficult for the public to recognize reliable information. Reported news and the transmission of information across social media sites continue to deploy negative media trends. Misinformation about food processing and handling practices has had a negative impact on consumption patterns and created anxiety among consumers. These events deal with the negative impact of what has been categorized as fake news and rumors, which have particularly impacted the purchasing and consumption pattern of consumers. In a fast-globalizing world where food is a necessity of life, the news in one part of the World easily makes the headlines in other regions fast!! And yet, despite better connections and a more informed public, no one is on the same page with fact-finding the erroneous information and having a major campaign of verified topics. Unfortunately, unverified and baseless information is increasingly being disseminated and accessed through social media applications. Food industry experts have urged authorities need to monitor inaccurate reports and put out clarifications as soon as possible on social media showing that food safety and quality parameter are non-negotiable. This presentation will evaluate how food handlers can mitigate information on social media content on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. The presentation will discuss the many ways unverified contest is affecting the food business.