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The 26th Annual Food Safety Summit Attracts 3,400 Food Safety Professionals In Person and Virtually, a 26% Increase from the 2023 Event

Monday, 13 May 2024 02:15 PM

2025 Summit Scheduled for May 12-15 in Rosemont, IL

ROSEMONT, IL / ACCESSWIRE / May 13, 2024 / Over 3,400 food safety industry professionals, researchers, policymakers, and experts from around the world participated in the 2024 Food Safety Summit, which took place at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL from May 6-9 to discuss the latest advances and challenges in ensuring safe food. The Summit combined 1,300 in-person and 2,100 virtual participants and offered new food safety solutions from 125 leading vendors in an expanded exhibit hall. Editorial photos are available at this link.

"We are thrilled that this year's Food Safety Summit saw both attendance and exhibitor participation back up to pre-pandemic levels. We heard from many companies who brought their hybrid teams together to the Summit to meet in person in a convenient location, share knowledge, and network," said Stacy Atchison, Publisher, Food Safety Magazine, producers of the Summit. "We thank our exhibitors, sponsors, speakers, and partners for their commitment and support of the Summit and the industry. And a special thank you to our Educational Advisory Board, who developed stellar content that allowed for knowledge exchange, collaboration, and the development of strategies to address critical issues impacting the global food system."

The event kicked off with a seasoned group of food safety professionals who led the opening workshop on Advancing Food Safety Business Leaders to Drive Results for Maximum Impact. Cindy Jiang, McDonald's (retired); Jorge Hernandez, The Wendy's Company; Emma Gometz, Digital Editor with Science Friday on NPR; Gillian Kelleher, Kelleher Consultants LLC; Linda Manning, a leader in talent and organizational development; Spir Marinakis, Maple Leaf Foods; Deb Kane, J&J Snack Foods Corp.; and John Crabill, Chipotle Mexican Grill, shared their insights as to why food safety leadership is critical to a successful career path and to the overall business. Emma Gometz led an interactive session on how to communicate science to a non-technical audience, and Linda Manning focused on navigating difficult conversations for an audience of over 400 food safety professionals.

The keynote presenter, Mary Weaver Gertz, Chief Food Safety and Quality Assurance Officer at Yum! Brands, also focused on leadership and shared advice on finding one's way as a food safety leader in a global and corporate environment. Gertz began by delving into her family history, sharing that both her mother and daughter were victims of foodborne illness. "Food is supposed to be a lot of things," Gertz said. "It's supposed to be nourishing. It's supposed to be part of celebration. It's supposed to be comfort, connection, love. But above all else, food is about trust. At Yum!, we say that food safety serves up trust in every bite. So, when I think about my family and I go back to the work that we're doing at Yum!, I remind the people in our business and on our teams that every time someone walks into any one of our 55,000 restaurants, that's a contract of trust between them and us. There is nothing more personal than food." Gertz said she's learned over the course of her career that food safety leadership is more art than science.

On the final day of the Summit, Gillian Kelleher, CEO, Kelleher Consultants LLC and Chair of the Educational Advisory Board (EAB) that develops content for the Summit, moderated theTown Hall: A Real-Time Conversation with FDA, CDC, USDA, and AFDO. During the Town Hall, attendees heard updates from James (Jim) Jones, Deputy Commissioner for Human Foods, U.S. Food and Drug Administration; Rob Tauxe, M.D., M.P.H., Director, DFWED, NCEZID, DDID, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Sandra Eskin, Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety, U.S. Department of Agriculture; and Steven Mandernach, Executive Director, Association of Food and Drug Officials. Each of the panelists shared updates from their organizations and participated in a lively Q&A session with attendees. Gillian began the Town Hall with the announcement of Dr. Tauxe's retirement and recognized him for his 41 years of service to the CDC and his commitment to food safety, as well as the nine years he participated in the Food Safety Summit Town Hall.

On Thursday afternoon, the FDA and the Alliance to Stop Foodborne Illness closed out their joint webinar series in front of 250 Food Safety Summit attendees in Rosemont, IL and another 2,000 virtual attendees. The session Food Safety Culture: The Journey Continues, presented by FDA and Stop Foodborne Illness celebrated the journey so far and the adventures on the horizon. Lone Jespersen, Ph.D., Principal and Founder, Cultivate SA; Vanessa Coffman, Ph.D., Director, Alliance to Stop Foodborne Illness; Conrad Choiniere, Ph.D., Deputy Director for Regulatory Affairs (acting), Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, FDA; Megan Kenjora, Senior Manager, Food Safety Culture, The Hershey Company; Ola Afolayan, Director, Global Food Safety and Regulatory, Kellanova; Karen McCarty, Senior Director of Commercial Quality Assurance, Agropur; and Jorge Hernandez, Vice President, Quality Assurance, The Wendy's Company discussed the value of ongoing commitment to food safety culture.

The Summit education sessions focused on timely topics including HACCP Sources and Vectors, Recall Modernization, Effectively Collaborating with Regulators, the Intersection of Cannabis and Food, Produce Safety, the Impact of Sustainability and Climate Change, Root Cause Analysis, New Food Delivery, Food Code Adoption, the Future of Food Safety Auditing, the Impact of Legacy Facilities and Equipment, Viruses in Food, and many more topics. Several of the insightful sessions were live streamed during the Summit and are now available to watch on demand until May 2025.

During the Food Safety Summit Gives Back networking reception, the Summit presented Mitzi Baum, CEO of Stop Foodborne Illness, with a check for $6,575, which included donations from exhibitors, sponsors, and attendees. The donations support Stop Foodborne Illness' vision of "A World Without Foodborne Illness" and its mission to be the voice of people affected by foodborne illness by collaborating with partners in academia, the food industry, and government to prevent foodborne illness.

During the three-day Summit, hundreds of professionals visited with 125 leading vendors to learn about the latest food safety solutions including Platinum Sponsor NomadX; Gold Sponsor Share-ify; Silver Sponsor Instant Recall; and Bronze Sponsors K├Ârber and Meritech. Additional education was offered in the Exhibit Hall on the Solutions Stage, Tech Tent, and in the Food Safety Magazine Food Safety Matters Podcast Theater, where attendees listened in on interviews with distinguished Summit speakers including industry leaders, regulatory officials, and academic experts.

The 27th Annual Food Safety Summit will be held at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL from Monday, May 12 through Thursday, May 15, 2025. The Food Safety Summit is owned and produced by Food Safety Magazine ( and 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. For more information on sponsorship or exhibiting opportunities, contact Kim Hansen at [email protected] or Adam Haas at [email protected]. For more information and updates for the 2024 event, visit or follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

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For further information, contact:
Amy Riemer, Media Relations
978-502-4895 (cell)
[email protected]

SOURCE: Food Safety Summit

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