On June 27–28 in Chicago, Illinois, national and international nut industry leaders convened for the Peanut and Tree Nut Processors Association’s (PTNPA) annual Operations and Technical Food Safety Summit.

Celebrating its eighth year, the summit brought together business owners and operators, as well as food safety, quality assurance, and regulatory experts in the nut industry from across the globe to hold critical discussions that drive food safety advancement in businesses of all sizes. Interactive sessions focused on current regulations and practices for compliance, company success stories and challenges, food safety investment impacts, and other topics. As the nut industry’s only food safety educational forum, the event provided an opportunity to tackle ongoing challenges and directly contribute to safe and stable food systems.

PTNPA conducted anonymous, real-time polling during the summit, through which attendees identified important themes:

  • An Integrated Business Unit Approach: A majority of organizations proactively educate financial, maintenance, and inventory teams on what it means to operate in a culture of food safety
  • Training Is a Priority: Nearly 89 percent of companies conduct food safety trainings at least once a year across departments
  • Emotionally Intelligent Leaders Stand Out: Strong communication and collaboration skills were rated the most critical leadership factors when working to prevent food safety risks or deficiencies in the market
  • The Bottom Line—Value of Food Safety Cultures Reigns: Creating a culture of food safety emerged as a key topic of importance, with 94 percent of attendees indicating it as a priority for operations now and in the future.

Also during the summit, PTNPA continued to expand the forward-thinking Industry Handbook for Safe Processing of Nuts with the launch of a new section focused on food safety best practices for importers and brokers. The handbook provides companies with guidance on day-to-day safety operations, company training protocols, employee onboarding, and regulatory guidance.