Program 2020

March 2-3, 2020; Chicago, IL

7:45 AM - 8:45 AM

Registration & Refreshments

8:45 AM - 8:55 AM

Chair’s Opening Remarks

Anne Sevier, Head of Copack and Supplier Quality North America, Kraft Heinz

Introductory remarks by the Chair in the plenary room

8:55 AM - 9:30 AM - Keynote

Food Safety Microbiology Management in the Upstream Value Chain

Fabien Robert, Ph.D., Director NQAC zone America, Nestlé Quality Assurance Centre (NQAC) Dublin

  • When it comes to microbiology food safety management in the primary production, this is about creating awareness and educational document with producers
  • Food safety incident can happen anywhere in the supply chain under multiple forms. Understanding the risks and having a plan in place is critical for every food business in order to protect its consumers
  • This program should be built both based on scientific and field knowledge to create impactful materials to foster good agricultural, hygiene and manufacturing practices.
  • This program encompasses various joined prevention program such as supplier audit, raw material specification, transparency, and traceability and supplier development activities
  • When looking at the outbreak root cause, it appears very distinctively that a proper management of the food safety risk in the upstream of the value chain is critical. This implies for food manufacturers to create programs beyond their own facility and to engage strongly with their suppliers and agricultural raw material producers

9:30 AM - 10:05 AM - Keynote

Going Beyond the Standard Listeria Environmental Monitoring Program

Dawn Pickett, Corporate Senior Director of Food Safety, Smithfield Foods

  • Although an uncommon cause of illness in the general population, Listeria monocytogenes is an important cause of severe infections in neonates, pregnant women, the elderly, transplant recipients and other patients with impaired cell‐mediated immunity.
  • Food manufacturing facilities must use well thought out Listeria environmental swabbing programs to detect and eliminate the organism from their environment. 
  • Listeria swabbing programs have been a normal routine for USDA meat facilities for over 20 years, and are starting to take off in FDA facilities, given the new FDA draft guidance released in 2017 that specifies the importance of environmental monitoring. 
  • USDA facilities have learned that having a strategic focus when it comes to Listeria swabbing, is much more informative than just a random generator of selected swab sites. 
  • From in-depth training of the swabbing group to strategic food contact and non-contact swabbing sites to total line teardown and corrective action after a Listeria positive is uncovered, the whole program must work together to yield successful outcomes.

10:10 AM - 10:45 AM - Case Studies

It’s your Business: Making Regulations and Regulators Work for You

Glenn Mott, VP Compliance, Gerber Poultry, Inc.

Whether regulated by the FDA or the USDA food safety professionals bear the responsibility of protecting both the consuming public and their company’s name and brand. Food safety regulations can be viewed as either a burden that must be borne or as an opportunity to enhance a company’s products and reputation. Those who see regulations as an opportunity can best leverage that view by building solid relationships with the regulators. In this session see how one small company that once received over 300 non-compliance reports a year:

• Changed an adversarial relationship with the USDA to one of mutual trust

• Became one of the early adopters of new regulations to win USDA approval to become self-inspected (replacing USDA inspection staff with company team members).

• Became the first poultry company in over two decades to be granted a regulatory line speed waiver; allowing a 25% increase in production on its self-inspected process lines.

• Uses the knowledge of regulations to support company food safety goals (which should always be higher) while guarding against regulatory overreach.

Safety, Compliance and Risk Management

Delivering Food Safety and Quality in the Box

Catherine Bouchard, Director of Food Safety and Quality Assurance, Home Chef

Chilling injury. Missing ingredients. Temperature abuse. Leaky meat. Learn more about the challenges of shipping food in a box from the desert of California, through the blistering winds of Illinois or passing through the humidity of Georgia. Balancing Food Safety and Quality between the cardboard box, ice packs and portion cups becomes even more challenging with the ambiguous regulations surrounding food safe transportation of meal kits.

10:45 AM - 11:35 AM

iSolve Meetings & Networking Refreshments

11:35 AM - 12:10 PM - Solution Spotlights

Managing Suppliers In an Interconnected World

Chris Domenico, Territory Manager, North America , Safefood 360°

  • Challenges in the global supply chain: Individual assessment of each material, supplier, agent, broker and manufacturing facility presents significant challenges to global food businesses.
  • Priorities of companies against resource allocation: Determining the criteria for assessment can be a challenge for business whether to start with Supply Chain Mapping, Supplier Auditing, Assessment or Scorecarding.
  • Assessment of Suppliers: How to determine when supply chain entities should be fully assessed so that you save time and resources.
  • How does Safefood 360° Address these?: A comprehensive overview of how non-value adding activities can be eliminated in the Supplier Quality Management Solution, saving your business time and resources while aligning closely with how leading global operators work.

Safety, Compliance and Risk Management

Food Safety Starts with the Right Sanitary Design

Jake Watts, Vice President of Food Safety, PSSI

  • A review of basic sanitary design principles as it pertains to facility construction and equipment standards to ensure the production of safe food. 
  • How taking a holistic approach plays a vital role in supporting our food safety programs including the effectiveness of the cleaning and sanitation process within our facilities.


12:15 PM - 12:50 PM - Keynote

What the Customer Really Wants!

Jerold Schlegel, Director of Food Safety and Quality, Weston Foods

Michael Ciepiela, Food Safety & Quality Assurance Manager, Italian Rose Garlic Products

  • How to identify the true voice of the customer
  • How to analyze and breakdown key attributes in actionable criteria
  • Design in the requirements
  • Identify and utilize the correct CI sustainability toolbox

12:50 PM - 1:50 PM

Networking Lunch

Roundtable led by: TraceGains

Be Safer and Faster: Supplier Management Now Includes Market Hub

TraceGains Supplier Management solution fosters cooperative supplier relationships, increases accuracy and speed, and now comes with the powerful sourcing directory, Market Hub. Learn how to:
  • Search for suppliers and items using criteria like country of origin, organic, non-GMO, kosher, and more
  • Streamline and automate supplier selection, approval, qualification, onboarding, and management
  • Easily detect and manage risk performance issues by item or supplier
Moderated by:
Bob Hudson, Director of Strategic Accounts, TraceGains

1:50 PM - 2:25 PM - Solution Spotlights

Technology & IoT

Automation and Insights from Conception to Consumption

Gary Nowacki, CEO, TraceGains

  • Accelerating sourcing and approval of suppliers with one network of over 30,000 supplier locations and 250,000+ items
  • Leveraging electronic COAs and lot attributes to reduce out-of-spec materials by over 50% and variability by over 20%
  • Improving collaborations with suppliers to accelerate specifications management
  • Experiencing enterprise-wide transparency to alert all locations of potential material problems instantaneously
  • Reducing audit times and ensuring all critical control points in your food safety plan

When Is Steam Clean? Understand and Control the Contamination Risk to Product When Steam is an Ingredient

Mike Skidmore, Global Market Development Executive – Food and Beverage, Spirax Sarco

Neil Davies, Market Development Manager – Food & Beverage, Spirax Sarco

  • If you are adding water to your product, you will manage its quality in line with strict regulations to ensure total safety for your consumers. Do you have similar measures in place for your steam?
  • There are many processes that put steam in direct contact with a product for cooking or sterilization. Do you list steam as an ingredient on your product’s label?
  • This session will discuss whether steam is an ingredient and teach you about the potential contamination risks to the product posed by your steam system and how to control them.

2:30 PM - 3:05 PM - Case Studies

Safety, Compliance and Risk Management

Consumer Demands and the Effects on Food Safety

Brian Perry, Senior Vice President Food Safety, Quality, TreeHouse Foods

In a world of ever-changing consumer demands we as food manufacturers need to balance consumer want with delivering safe quality food. Consumers are demanding clean-label, organic, natural, gluten-free, probiotic-containing and fresh foods. The demands drive researchers to develop products to meet those needs which then must be balanced with potential food safety and stability concerns in the marketplace. In this session we will discuss how you balance risk, cost and consumer demands in today’s complex food world.

Trends in Global Food Labeling

Miriam Maxwell, CFS, Sr. Principal Regulatory Scientist, Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc.

An exciting update touching on major regions and highlighting how they are different than USA. Comparing and contrasting USA, Canada, EU, China, Mexico, Mercosur, Korea, GCC – Arabic member countries and more.  Review of overarching trends that are the basis for much of the change including nutrition, GM labeling (or not!) and more.

3:05 PM - 3:55 PM

iSolve Meetings & Networking Refreshments

3:55 PM - 4:30 PM - Solution Spotlights

Safety, Compliance and Risk Management

The Hidden Risks to Food Safety

Randy Kohal, VP of Food Safety and Reliability, Nexcor Food Safety Technologies

  • You already know the risks involved with food safety, but your peers and superiors may not perceive them the same way. We aim to explore why cohesive understanding is critical to effective food safety and some of the common impediments.
  • Shortcomings in food safety often trace back to communicating risk to the right entities.
  • Perceptions impact the effectiveness of food safety within an organization.
  • Communicating the minimal costs associated with risk mitigation is critical and often overlooked.
  • Current "Fads" in food safety traceability overshadow the fundamentals of running a clean, food-safe facility. They often can have high costs with little ROI.

Technology & IoT

Capabilities of Next Gen MES Systems

Joe Gerstl, Director of Digital Product Management, GE Digital

  • Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) have been on the market for some time. However, many companies are still using home-grown or point solutions.

  • Why an MES and what to look for when choosing an MES?
  • Turn data into information to increase the visibility & efficiency of your production
  • Deliver end-to-end traceability & ensure compliance with food safety regulations
  • Ensure uncompromising quality using a Lean approach
  • Empower your workforce with tools that will reduce variability & make them more efficient
  • Use hybrid cloud solutions for enterprise-wide analysis & analytics
  • See real-life examples from major producers who have implemented our solutions

4:35 PM - 5:10 PM - Keynote

Building a Career in Quality

Anne Sevier, Head of Copack and Supplier Quality North America, Kraft Heinz

  • Technical and Leadership skills needed to advance in Quality
  • Critical Experiences
  • Balancing Work and Family
  • Unwritten Skills

5:10 PM - 5:55 PM - Panel Discussion

Maintaining Trust With Your Customers In An Evolving Consumer Culture

Reid Ivy, Ph.D., Director, Food Safety, Ferrara USA

Glenn Mott, VP Compliance, Gerber Poultry, Inc.

Dilshika Wijesekera, Director, Food Safety and Regulatory Compliance, Instacart

Anne Sevier, Head of Copack and Supplier Quality North America, Kraft Heinz

Fabien Robert, Ph.D., Director NQAC zone America, Nestlé Quality Assurance Centre (NQAC) Dublin

  • Why is it important for customers to trust a brand and how do you maintain that trust?
  • How has social media changed our relationship with customers
  • Responding to a food safety/quality incident in the age of social media

5:55 PM - 6:00 PM

6:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Evening Drinks Reception

8:00 AM - 8:50 AM

Registration & Refreshments

8:50 AM - 8:55 AM

Chair’s Opening Remarks

Anne Sevier, Head of Copack and Supplier Quality North America, Kraft Heinz

Introductory remarks by the Chair in the plenary room

8:55 AM - 9:30 AM - Keynote

Navigating Clean Labeling in a Messy Environment

Susan Bond, Vice President, Regulatory & Scientific Affairs, Kerry, Inc.

‘Clean labelling’ is a growing demand and it’s getting a lot of attention from consumers, industry, regulators, and even class action lawyers.  With modern ingredient innovation and a labelling revolution with no clear boundaries, the industry and consumer demands are outpacing current regulatory frameworks. This session will build on proprietary Kerry consumer research and discuss the urgent need for a regulatory path forward.

9:30 AM - 10:05 AM - Keynote

Safety, Compliance and Risk Management

FINAL RULE: Protecting Food Against Intentional Adulteration

William Weissinger, Program Division Director/District Director, FDA

  • The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Intentional Adulteration final rule is aimed at preventing intentional adulteration from acts intended to cause wide-scale harm to public health, including acts of terrorism targeting the food supply. Such acts, while not likely to occur, could cause illness, death, economic disruption of the food supply absent mitigation strategies.

10:05 AM - 10:40 AM - Case Studies

Food Defense: An FBI Perspective

Christopher Young, Intelligence Analyst, FBI Chicago

  • Food Defense is the protection of food supplies from INTENTIONAL contamination of food. Angry employees may drop things into food at a food production facility in order to damage equipment. Violent Extremists may add poison to food in order to attack a specific population. Criminals may dilute or substitute ingredients for financial gain. The Federal Bureau of Investigation works with regulatory agencies to identify risks and prevent these acts from occurring, or to investigate threats to the food supply.

10:40 AM - 11:35 AM

iSolve & Networking Refreshments

11:35 AM - 12:10 PM - Case Studies

Safety, Compliance and Risk Management

Delivering Quality, Safely

Dilshika Wijesekera, Director, Food Safety and Regulatory Compliance, Instacart

  • Instacart is a San Francisco-based technology company that provides same-day, on-demand grocery delivery services to consumers. We’re a turnkey solution that strategically positions retail partners to capture new on-demand digital customers. With the rapid growth of online grocery shopping, last-mile food safety is vital to maintain consumer trust. Join the session to get a peek into how we deliver quality groceries, safely.

Sugar Refining – Transitioning a Commodity to a Food Product in 2020

Jennifer Yezak, Vice President, Global Quality, ASR Group

This session will review factors influencing sugar refining and outline one company’s approach to transforming the culture and approach to Food Safety and Quality to “Be the Most Admired Sweetener Company”.

12:15 PM - 12:50 PM - Case Studies

Safety, Compliance and Risk Management

AeroFarms: Elevating Food Safety with Indoor Vertical Farming

Marc Oshima, Co-Founder & Chief Marketing Officer, AeroFarms

  • Full session abstract TBC

USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service Compliance and Investigations Division in Protecting Public Health and Food Defense Strategies

Lolita Brumfield, Investigator, United States Department of Agriculture - Food Safety Inspection Service

  • Full session abstract TBC

12:50 PM - 1:50 PM

Networking Lunch

1:50 PM - 2:25 PM - Keynote

Using Technology to Reduce Supply Chain Risk

Darrell Portz, Global VP Food Safety & Quality, Griffith Foods

  • There are various forms of information and means of getting information regarding the supply chain.
  • The session will illustrate the different technologies Griffith Foods is utilizing to reduce the potential for food safety issues.   

2:25 PM - 3:00 PM - Keynote

Safety, Compliance and Risk Management

Managing Food Safety During Organizational Change

Reid Ivy, Ph.D., Director, Food Safety, Ferrara USA

  • Change seems to be the only constant in the food industry. I will discuss some of my experiences and present some learnings on how to maintain product safety and compliance during organizational change.

3:00 PM - 3:10 PM