The 19th Annual Food Safety Summit, held last week in Rosemont, IL attracted nearly 1,700 registered food safety professionals and 190 exhibiting companies. During the four-day event, held at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, food safety professionals discussed the most pressing issues facing the food industry including Listeria, the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act, the Integration of the Nation's Food Safety System as well as reviewed case studies from recent foodborne illness outbreaks. The event kicked off on Monday, May 8th with six successful certification programs including Preventive Control courses for Human Food, Animal Food, Produce and Foreign Supplier Verification as well as Auditor Training and Seafood HACCP.

"Last week, Rosemont was the place for the food safety industry offering informative and timely education sessions, buzz worthy special events, and the newest technologies and solutions for the industry," said Scott Wolters, director for the Food Safety Summit. "We thank our Educational Advisory Board, our exhibitors, attendees, speakers, and press who came out to support this leading event which addresses the critical food safety issues facing processors, distributors, growers, retailers and foodservice operators."

On Tuesday, May 9, Gillian Kelleher, vice president for food safety and quality assurance for Wegmans Food Markets, and Sharon Birkett, VP, North America Quality and Food Protection, OSI Group moderated a half day workshop addressing the Latest in Listeria Control.  The dynamic panelists included Doug Craven, Hormel Foods; Natalie Dyenson, MPH, Dole Food Company, Inc.; Joe Stout, Commercial Food Sanitation; Ozgur Koc, Crunch Pak; Steve Tsuyuki, Maple Leaf Foods; Matt Henderson, Land O'Frost; Matthew Wise, MPH, Ph.D., CDC and Mickey Parish, FDA.

The afternoon workshops include the 3rd Annual AFDO Integration Forum which was hosted by Joe Corby; Preventive Controls & Sanitary Food Transportation Act (SFTA): The Basics and Sustainment, A Guide to Success as a Food Safety Professional and Integrated Food Safety System Update. The Welcome Reception, sponsored by Deloitte, offered attendees an opportunity to network with 190 vendors who showcased specialty products and services designed to help food safety professionals do their job more effectively and efficiently. 

Industry icon Dane Bernard moderated a dynamic panel of industry experts, on Wednesday morning, who discussed issues ranging from the implementation of FSMA, legal implications including litigation and the role of the Department of Justice to the impact of produce, foreign supplier verification and intentional adulteration during the opening day keynote session. Speakers on the keynote panel included Kathy Gombas, formerly of FDA; Dave Gombas, formerly of United Fresh Produce Association; Craig Wilson, Costco Wholesale Corporation; Jeffery Steger, Department of Justice; and Shawn Stevens, Food Industry Counsel, LLC.

On Thursday morning, during the 6th Annual Town Hall AFDO's Joe Corby, CDC's Dr. Robert Tauxe, USDA's Al Almanza, and FDA's Stephen Ostroff discussed how the agencies are working together on food safety initiatives and exciting new developments such as Whole Genome Sequencing which will have a revolutionary impact on the industry. The Town Hall was moderated by Gary Ades, President of G&L Consulting and Chairman of the Summit Educational Advisory Board. 

On Wednesday evening attendees enjoyed the Food Safety Summit Gives Back Networking Reception to benefit Feeding America.  Chuck Wilson of BNP Media presented Mitzi Baum, Director of Food Safety for Feeding America with a donation of $8,000 to help provide 90,000 meals on behalf of the sponsors, speakers, exhibitors, and attendees.  In addition, Sani Professional Food Safety Advisory Council presented the 2017 Sani Awards to Tracey McClure, Food Safety Specialist & Training Dept. Administrator, Jason's Deli; Jeremy Benedict, Quality Improvement and Training Coordinator, ASC of SUNY Cortland and Therese O'Connor, Asst. Director Training & Development, Cornell Dining.

"We were very pleased with our showing and support throughout the '17 FSS. Can't wait to begin discussing the 2018 plan!" said Matt Schiering, VP, general manager, Sani Professional.

Prior to the Town Hall, NSF International, a global public health and safety organization that provides food safety and quality assurance services across all food supply chain sectors, announced the recipients of the 2017 NSF Food Safety Leadership Awards. Recipients were Jack J. Guzewich, MPH Consultant and Trainer in Foodborne Disease Epidemiology and Food Emergency Response, David M. Theno, Ph.D. CEO/CBIO, Gray Dog Partners, Inc., and Lee-Ann Jaykus, Ph.D. William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor, Food Science, North Carolina State University.

On the trade show floor, 190 exhibiting companies including Gold Sponsor Roka Bioscience, Silver Sponsor Alchemy Systems and Bronze Sponsor Eurofins met with attendees to showcase their new products and services. Two full days of presentations from exhibitors were offered in the Solutions Stage Theaters, as a chance for attendees to hear from subject matter experts about the newest solutions and technologies in food safety and security.  Solutions Stage presentations were given by ACO Polymer Products, LUBRIPLATE Lubricants, Roka BioScience, Associated Wholesale Growers/ ReposiTrak, Mettler Toledo, Art's Way Scientific, Brother Mobile Solutions, TEGAM, Verse Solutions, TRI Air Testing, Magnifi Group, Sani Professional, Retokil Steritech, Abbott, Spirax Sarco, ComplianceMetrix, CompWALK, Siemens PLM Software and Detectamet.

Plans are already being made for the 20th Anniversary of the Food Safety Summit which will again be held at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL from Monday, May 7 through Thursday, May 10, 2018.  In addition, BNP Media will sponsor the Food Safety Summit Education Theater at PROCESS EXPO taking place September 19-22, 2017 at the McCormick Place Convention Center, Chicago, IL.  For more information, on sponsorship or exhibiting opportunities call Chuck Wilson at 630-962-0078 or visit