For the first time in its 21-year history, the Food Safety Summit will include a meeting of members of a regional affiliate of the Association of Food and Drug Officials.

The summit organizers are offering discounted early registration rates through March 31 for event, which is scheduled for May 6 to 9 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL. Thousands of attendees from the realms of business, academia and government at all levels gather annually for the conference and trade show.

Marking the first time for a regional affiliate the Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO), the 2019 summit organizers say they are working to expand the event each year. AFDO, an international non-profit organization, has always had a presence at the Food Safety Summit, with its members and leaders not only attending, but presenting at seminars and panel discussions during the event.

The meeting of the North Central Association of Food and Drug Officials (NCAFDO) is kicking off what summit organizers and AFDO’s leadership hope will become a regular feature state and local regulators. The North Central regional group includes members from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. 

The NCAFDO agenda includes updates on food regulatory programs from the Midwest and discussions about the U.S. Food and Drug Administrations’s retail food programs, implementation of preventive control inspections programs at the state and federal levels, and third party audit programs. The affiliate members are scheduled to meet from 1 to 5 p.m. May 6 and from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. May 7.

Steven Mandernach

Steven Mandernach, AFDO’s executive director, said members of the parent organization and it’s affiliates already know they are more than the sum of their parts. 

“We already know we are more effective working together,” Mandernach told Food Safety News. “Being able to encourage the professionals we both support to attend is an extension of our mission. Taking that a step further, being able to learn from industry and help push innovation featured at the summit is a way we continue to make gains in our safe food system.”

Mandernach became the AFDO executive director in 2018, succeeding Joe Corby who had long been at the helm. Before receiving the nod for AFDO’s top job, Mandernach served as Bureau Chief for Food and Consumer Safety for the State of Iowa for more than eight years. 

Launched in 1897 in Detroit as the National Association of State Dairy and Food Departments, AFDO’s founding leaders — Joseph Blackburn, the Food and Dairy Commissioner for Ohio, and his counterpart from Michigan, Elliot Grosvenor — sought to promote regulatory uniformity, according to the association’s website. The first meeting in August 1897 at the Turkish Room of the Cadillac Hotel included officials from Colorado, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. 

Over the years, developing a broad base of support for new approaches, AFDO has become a recognized voice in determining the rules and shape of the regulatory playing field of the future. The consensus-building AFDO pursues is key to advancing uniform laws, regulations, and guidelines that result in more efficient regulation and less confusion among industry in the marketplace, according to the association’s leadership. 

AFDO works for consensus by interacting with and bringing together high-level regulatory officials, industry representatives, trade associations and consumer organizations.

For more information about the 2019 Food Safety Summit and registration for the NCAFDO meeting, visit

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