CHICAGO — The Food Safety Summit, which continues here today, has been on the cutting edge since its inception and remains there. Mobile apps for conferences and events have gone in the blink of an eye from rarely seen to absolutely necessary.

Again this year there is an FSS mobile app. It is chock-full of information, including schedules, attendee lists, speaker information, a news feed, and more.

Apps make it possible for attendees to pull their own schedule together from all the offerings. Apps make it possible for conference organizers to reach attendees on a 24/7 basis during the event if there is weather or other emergency information to get out.

Here’s what the FSS app says is coming up.

Today the education program begins with a dynamic opening session, “How to Prepare For, Manage and Survive a High-Profile Food Safety Crisis.” The afternoon is scheduled to feature four workshops: Partners with a Common Purpose, Getting Back to the Basics, Food Protection: Business Decision-Making for International Acts Including Food Fraud and Food Defense, and Foodborne Outbreaks in the News.

Mike Taylor, who is Senior Fellow at the Meridian Institute as well as co-chair of the board of Stop Foodborne Illness and former FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine, will present “What Will Drive Future Food Safety Progress?” during the keynote address at 9:15 a.m. Wednesday. Taylor is scheduled to discuss what mix of bad events, consumer expectations, industry leadership, technological innovation and public policy will drive future food safety progress. Can we take food safety to the next level without waiting for tragic events to drive us there? For those who cannot attend in person, the keynote presentation will be broadcast live from the Summit to those who wish to view it virtually.

On Thursday, at 9:15 a.m., the Summit is scheduled to offer its eighth annual Town Hall meeting where attendees will have a chance to interact with the leaders of food safety from the FDA, USDA, CDC, and AFDO (Association of Food and Drug Officials). Panelists include:

  • Frank Yiannas, deputy commissioner for food policy and response for the FDA;
  • Paul Kiecker, acting administrator for the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of the USDA;
  • Steve Mandernach, executive director of AFDO; and
  • Dr. Robert Tauxe, Director, Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases, CDC.

The Town Hall will be moderated by Gary Ades, president of G&L Consulting Group and chairman of the Food Safety Summit Educational Advisory Board.

The Summit will close with a general session on Thursday at 4:15 p.m. with respected leaders in the industry who will present “What’s Keeping Food Safety Professionals Up At Night? Where Do You Go for Answers?” The moderator will be Joan Menke-Schaenzer of Van Drunen Farms/ FutureCeuticals. Panelists are scheduled to include:

  • Shawn Stevens of the law firm Food Industry Council LLC;
  • Thuy Vu of Hammer Enterprises Integrated Solutions LLC;
  • Steven Mandernach AFDO executive director;
  • Donna Schaffner of Rutgers University;
  • Will Daniels of IEH Inc.; and
  • Dane Bernard of Bold Bear Food Safety.

The final session food safety experts will discuss the rules and regulations around CBD, and other pressing questions that come up for food safety professionals today including Whole Genome Sequencing; what to do if the FDA or USDA say you have an outbreak; what to do if you have Listeria monocytogenes in your environment or have a zone 1 positive; and what to do if your product is put on an Import Alert.

The sprawling exhibit hall will feature more than 125 vendors showcasing products and services for food safety professionals and students. Attendees can interact through the Farm to Fork Game. There will also be the new Tech Tent and Learning Lounge areas, two Solutions Stages where dozens of vendors will present an informative and educational session, and Community Cafes that are designed for attendees to meet with subject matter experts from the Summit’s speaker faculty.

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