The 2015 Food Safety Summit kicked off early Tuesday morning in Baltimore, MD, despite riots damaging part of the city and the state’s governor declaring a state of emergency Monday night. Violence broke out in Baltimore on Monday afternoon following the funeral of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old Baltimore man arrested by police April 12 for possessing a switchblade knife. Gray died a week later after surgery for injuries to his spinal cord and larynx sustained while he was in police custody. The first day of the summit, held at the Baltimore Convention Center and just blocks from Camden Yards, began with several day-long sessions that were well-attended in the morning. As planned, Tuesday’s main forum started off with a speech on the vision for an integrated food safety system by Michael Taylor, Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). While some scheduled speakers canceled their appearances at the last minute, the summit proceeded without interruption for the remainder of the day. At one point, conference organizers joked that the few speaker cancellations just allowed for the afternoon’s networking mixer to begin an hour early. Organizers said that security had been bolstered at the convention center, along with nearby hotels, and that they were in close communication with the mayor’s office and city officials who were monitoring the situation. “Safety is of course a major priority for all of our guests, staff and visitors,” conference organizers wrote in a statement to attendees. “We have been assured that our guests should feel comfortable coming to the event and that travel should not be affected.” No events have been canceled for the remainder of the conference, which continues through Thursday afternoon. The Food Safety Summit is an annual conference and exposition focused on solutions to food safety issues. This year’s conference is being held from April 28-30.