For the past four days, hundreds of food safety professionals logged in and tuned into The Virtual Food Safety Summit education program, visited with exhibitors in the Expo Hall, and networked through the virtual platform. During the event leading subject matter experts shared their insights on the most pressing topics from the impact of COVID-19 on the food supply, to the importance of focusing on the consumer, and potential criminal exposure for a company in relation to an outbreak. All of the content is available On-Demand through April 2021 at the Virtual Portal at www.foodsafetysummit.com.
"A big thank you to all of our speakers, attendees, and exhibitors who participated in our virtual event. We missed the opportunity of being together this year but the engagement on the virtual platform far exceeded our expectations," said Scott Wolters, chief events officer, BNP Media. "We had great attendance in our education sessions and the exhibitors were able to connect with customers through the portal. The importance of education and networking for food safety professionals was discussed throughout the conference and we are happy we were able to provide this community with a stellar program."
The event kicked off on Monday, October 19 with an opening session COVID-19: The New Normal for the Food Industry featuring eight of the best and brightest in food safety who shared what worked and did not over the last eight months and how they are preparing their organizations for the future. The speakers included Lee-Ann Jaykus of North Carolina State University who provided the background and science of the pandemic. Glenn Stolowski of H-E-B and Craig Wilson of Costco gave the retailer perspective, Jorge Hernandez of Wendy's provided the foodservice angle, Joan Menke-Schaenzer of Van Drunen Farms provided the manufacturing perspective and Steve Mandernach of AFDO gave the regulatory insight. The group then reconvened for a follow-up session where they reviewed the common themes discussed in the four breakout sessions.
Will Daniels, President, Produce Division, IEH Laboratories, and Consulting Group made the case in the keynote address for the importance of food safety professionals going Back to Basics: Consumer-Focused Food Safety. In a passionate and honest presentation Will discussed how in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, food manufacturers have stood up to the challenge of performing as an essential business and have shown the world how well this industry attempts to respond to a crisis; working together to maintain a safe work environment for the employee while producing safe food.
Prior to the keynote, Sarah Krol, Senior Managing Director, Global Supply Chain Food Safety, NSF International presented Dr. Jennifer McEntire, Senior Vice President of Food Safety and Technology at the United Fresh Produce Association, with the Food Safety Leadership Award. Dr. McEntire developed United Fresh's Produce Safety Immersion program to help accelerate the education and careers of aspiring food safety professionals. NSF International's Food Safety Leadership Award recognizes individuals and organizations for real and lasting improvements in food safety. Nominations were evaluated by the Food Safety Summit Educational Advisory Board.
During the 9th Annual Town Hall AFDO's Steve Mandernach; CDC's Dr. Robert Tauxe; USDA's Paul Kiecker; and FDA's Frank Yiannas shared the screen and gave an overview of how each organization has responded to COVID-19 and what progress has been made over the past year. The Town Hall was moderated by Gary Ades, President of G&L Consulting and Chairman of the Summit's Educational Advisory Board.
The Summit concluded with a dynamic mock trial featuring Shawn Stevens and Joel Chapelle from Food Industry Counsel LLC. During the session - Foodborne Illness Outbreak Mock Criminal Trial - A View from the Jury Box - Shawn and Joel presented arguments for the audience who were the jury to decide if the fictitious Lynn White, V.P. of Food Safety, for a company that caused a Listeria outbreak, should be criminally convicted after 26 people were sickened and a child died. Attendees learned about the scope of potential criminal exposure a company may face if their products are associated with an outbreak and then voted whether to convict or acquit Ms. White who was found guilty by a tally of 58% to 42% not guilty.
The virtual expo hall featured dozens of exhibitors showcasing the newest products and services for the food safety industry including Gold Sponsor Purell and Bronze Sponsor Eliza Technologies. Education continued in the exhibit hall in the Tech Tent and Solutions Stage with informative presentations from AGI Suretrack, Aptar, Biomerieux, CAT2, Controlant, FoodLogiQ, INEXTA, ISTOBAL, JBS Logistics, Mettler Toldedo, MilliporeSigma, NSF International, Orkin, Pall, Purell, RiskLimiter, and SafetyChain.
Plans are already being made for the 23rd Annual Food Safety Summit which will be held as a hybrid event with a live portion at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL from Monday, May 10 through Thursday, May 13, 2021 and parts of the Summit being offered online. For more information, on sponsorship or exhibiting opportunities contact Kim Hansen at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information and updates for the 2021 event, visit www.foodsafetysummit.com or follow on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
The Food Safety Summit is produced by BNP Media (www.bnpmedia.com), one of the country's leading business-to-business media companies serving industry professionals across 60+ industries through magazines, custom media, e-newsletters, webinars, events, and market research.