Food Safety Summit May 6-9, 2025
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Food Safety Summit Announces Senior Executives Keynote Panel

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The focus of the keynote presentation taking place on Wednesday, May 10 during the 25th annual Food Safety Summit in Rosemont, Illinois will be Risk Culture: How to Balance Risks for the Safety of Consumers, Team Members, and the Environment. The keynote panel discussion will feature senior executives including Michael Eckhardt, Senior Vice PresidentChief Legal and Risk Officer, and Secretary, Wawa Inc.; Randy Huffman, Ph.D., Chief Food Safety and Sustainability Officer, Maple Leaf Foods; and David McDonald, President and Chief Operating Officer, OSI GroupLone Jespersen, Ph.D., Principal at Cultivate SA, will lead this important conversation. To access the full education program, visit 

"Managing risk is such an important topic for food safety professionals at all levels of business, and we look forward to Lone Jespersen leading this conversation with these three dynamic panelists who are committed to balancing risk and safety," said Gillian Kelleher, CEO of Kelleher Consultants LLC and Chair of the Summit Educational Advisory Board (EAB). "We are confident that attendees to the Food Safety Summit will gain practical perspectives they can share with their senior leadersat organizations of all sizes."  

"The keynote session will focus on a conversation with forward-thinking executives on the topic of balancing risks for the safety of consumers, team members, and the environment. Participants will hear how successful food companies manage risks that sometimes compete for investments and leadership attention," explained Lone Jespersen, Ph.D., Principal at Cultivate SA and member of the Food Safety Summit EAB. "Learning how to partner with colleagues from human safety and sustainability is a must for company to improve food safety performance and mature a company's food safety culture. The executives will also share specific challenges and wins from their respective organizations, along with the cultural solutions that help them successfully manage risk." The panel will include: 

Michael EckhardtSenior Vice President, Chief Legal and Risk Officer, and Secretary for Wawa Inc. Michael has responsibility for the company's Internal Audit, Enterprise Risk Management, Legal, Loss Prevention, Quality Assurance, Risk Management, and Safety teams. He joined Wawa in 2005 and became General Counsel in 2011. He previously held the position of Associate General Counsel at Wawa Inc 

Randy Huffman, Ph.D., Chief Food Safety and Sustainability Officer at Maple Leaf Foods. His role encompasses leadership of Food Safety and Quality, Occupational Health, Safety and Security, Environmental Sustainability, and Animal Care. Randy leads a team that has developed and is executing world-class strategies to deliver on Maple Leaf Foods' commitments to produce safe, great-tasting food produced in a safe work environment, and to become the most sustainable protein company on earth.  

David G. McDonaldPresident and Chief Operating Officer of OSI Group. David joined OSI Group, a multinational food processing company with nearly 60 facilities in 17 countries, in 1987. Over the years, after serving in a number of capacities, he became President and Chief Operating Officer. He serves on the Board of Managers for OSI Group and many of its companies. In addition, David was formerly the Chairman of the American Meat Institute and the first Chairman of the North American Meat Institute.  

"I look forward to having this important conversation with Michael, Randy, and David and to share with the attendees of the Food Safety Summit how all food safety professionals can work with their senior management teams on balancing risk for consumers, employees, and the environment," added Jespersen. 

Attendees will have access to three days of education sessions, including an opening workshop on Got Root Cause? featuring a panel of leaders from FDA, Cargill, Dole Food Company, USDA, Yum Brands, and J&J Snack Foods, who will review how getting to the root cause is a cost-effective approach to management/operations in any organization. In addition, the 11th annual Town Hall: A Conversation with Top Regulators and Advisors will be held on Thursday, May 11, with insights from FDA, CDC, USDA, and AFDO. 

The Summit's closing session on the afternoon of Thursday, May 11 will focus on Legal Insights to Sharpen Your Food Safety Focusand Stay Out of the Courtroom. The panel discussion will feature prominent attorneys who work on behalf of consumers and industry, with all advocating on the side of food safety. These internationally recognized, expert lawyers will discuss the common gaps or weaknesses they see in company operations, culture, and regulatory adherence that lead to adverse events, such as foodborne illness outbreaks and recalls.  

For access to the full program and for attendee registration, visit information on sponsorship or exhibiting opportunities, please contact Kim Hansen at or Adam Haas at For updates on the 2023 event, visit or follow the event on TwitterLinkedIn, and Facebook 

The Food Safety Summit is owned and produced by Food Safety Magazine ( BNP Media (, 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. 

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