On April 29th, the 11th annual Food Safety Summit wrapped up its annual three-day meeting where nearly 1,600 food manufacturing, retail, foodservice, academic, military and government professionals attended and shared their knowledge and experiences at the Washington D.C. Convention Center. The Summit featured highly interactive workshops, general sessions and keynote presentations from the National Restaurant Association, Jack-in-the-Box and the FDA. Virtually every aspect of food safety was discussed and more than 175 companies in the exhibit hall displayed products and services and the latest information in fighting contamination.
"Initial feedback has been very positive and we are extremely pleased with the success of the event," said Scott Wolters, CEM, director of tradeshows and conferences for BNP Media, producers of the event. "Attendees really enjoyed the conference, the networking events, the Poster Abstract Area and the Vendor Theaters where exhibitors had an opportunity to present data in their particular area of expertise."
Amy B. Smith, technical application and regulatory support specialist for DuPont Qualicon, said on a national radio interview, “The Food Safety Summit is a great meeting not only for networking but it is full of valuable and timely information. We are lucky to be part of this event. The issue of food safety cannot be overstated and this event is a great way to network and have important discussions around regulatory and scientific information.”
The Food Safety Summit keynote speakers all gave detailed, informative speeches about the issues facing the food industry. Michael Kaufman, chairman of the board of the National Restaurant Association kicked off the event with a keynote presentation on how the industry and government are working together to improve safety and quality in the restaurant industry. He preceded Dr. David Theno, who recently retired as senior vice president, quality and logistics of Jack-in-the-Box, who talked about the importance of being a strong leader in the face of food safety issues.
More than over 300 people attended “3rd Party Auditing and Certification: Industry Perspectives.” Panelists include Mark Overland from Cargill, Inc.; Karen Hulebak from CODEX Alimentarius Commission; Sharon Mayl from the FDA; Craig Henry from the Grocery Manufacturers Association; Jill Hollingsworth from the Food Marketing Institute; Caroline Smith De Waal from the Center for Science in the Public Interest; Bryce Quick from the USDA/FSIS, Kevin Swoffer, GFSI Technical Committee Chair and Chris Gordon from the National Restaurant Association.
The panel of nine leading industry experts discussed consumer confidence in government and industry, what consumers should do and how communications should flow in a food safety incident, how a government food safety agency can improve consumer confidence and whether or not the entire farm-to-fork food chain to consumer possession be held to the same minimum, transparent standard.
In his keynote address, Dr. Donald Zink, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, discussed the challenge of using outbreak investigations to drive continuous improvement in food safety. He talked about the complexities of tracking food borne illnesses in the global food supply, and highlighted government systems PulseNet and FoodNet that government agencies use to track important information and statistics.
NSF International, a not-for-profit public health and safety organization, announced the winners of the 2009 Annual Food Safety Leadership Awards. The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Dr. Phillip Minerich, Hormel Foods Corporation and the Education and Training Award was presented to the Department of Food Science and Technology, University of California. System Improvement Awards were presented to the Coca-Cola Company, Greenville County Schools, South Carolina; North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services; and Dole Fresh Vegetables. The Food Quality Award was presented by Food Quality Magazine to Fieldale Farms Further Processing Division. The Award was sponsored by DuPont Qualicon and during the evening, Craig Wilson, assistant vice president of Costco Wholesale Corporation presented insight into what the retail wholesale club is doing on the food safety line front.
Exhibitors in the Expo Hall included 3M Microbiology, BD Diagnostics, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Bio-Rad Laboratories, Ecolab, Inc., Ingersoll-Rand Company LTD, R-Biopharm, Inc., Siemens Energy & Automation, Silliker, Inc., Beef Products Inc, Weber Scientific and others. “This was our first time to The Food Safety Summit and it was one of the best shows we have done,” said Ernst Norman of Baxtek Solutions in Snellville, Ga. “We met the right kind of people from large corporations and we are confident they will become business partners.”
During the Food Safety Summit DSM, the global Life Sciences and Material Sciences company, based in Parsipanny, N.J., highlighted a number of its innovations at the company’s booth. Ruth Donners, business development manager for DSM Food Specialties, leading supplier of advanced ingredients for the food and beverage industries, reported having a successful event and meeting with many new business contacts.
“This was our first time at The Food Safety Summit and it was very successful event. We met with decision makers from Coca Cola, Pepsi, Cargill, Stouffers and many other major food companies who were interested in our flooring product,” said Dawn Bye, director of business operations for AcryliCon, based in Chesapeake, Va. “We had an opportunity to speak with a number of key representatives from the food industry as well as quality assurance and inspection groups to inform them about our products and educate them on what are available, it was a very valuable meeting.”
The entire event was informative and productive for everyone who attended. Plans are already being made for the 2010 Food Safety Summit, which will be held April 12-14, 2010 and will return to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.
For more information, call 847/405-4000 or visit www.foodsafetysummit.com.