The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) Foundation in partnership with the Safe Quality Food Institute (SQFI), a division of FMI, awarded 15 academic scholars with the 2019 Food Safety Auditing Scholarship and Education Travel Grant at the SQF International Conference in San Antonio. 
The recipients of the 2019 FMI Foundation Food Safety Auditing Scholarship are:
  • Ayodeji Adeniyi, Texas Tech University
  • Amanda Chin, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Darvin Cuellar-Milian, Texas Tech University
  • Sicun Fan, North Carolina State University
  • James Hearn, Oklahoma State University
  • Xingyi Jiang, Florida State University
  • KarunaKharel, Louisiana State University
  • Xingchen Liu, University of Maryland
  • Claire Marik, Virginia Tech
  • Mariia Melnychuk, Niagara College
  • Sara Munoz, Texas Tech University
  • Ikechukwu Oguadinma, The University of Georgia
  • Yadwinder Rana, Cornell University
  • Charley Rayfield, Oklahoma State University
  • Daniel Vega, Kansas State University
Each winner receives a $3,000 scholarship with an all-expense-paid trip to the SQF International Conference to network with more than 850 food safety professionals. For additional information about the FMI Foundation and the Scholarship program visit For information about Safe Quality Food Institute visit
The FMI Foundation received more than 53 scholarship applications this year – 24 doctoral candidates, 16 pursuing master’s degrees and 13 in their junior and senior university programs. The scholarship recognizes outstanding students enrolled in a university food and agricultural science program who are interested in pursuing a career in food systems auditing. 
“In this era of smarter food shoppers, it is critical the food retail industry has smarter food safety,” said FMI Foundation Executive Director, David Fikes. “More than ever, we need capable food safety auditors with a passion for assuring that secure, high-quality food is produced, packaged, and distributed around the globe. I’m pleased the Foundation can support the next generation of well-trained auditors, ensuring high standards of food safety for future generations.”  
Senior Vice President of the Safe Quality Food Institute Robert Garfield stated, “Auditors play an integral role in assessing food safety management systems at food and beverage processing facilities across the globe. With the shortage of auditors in the industry, it’s crucial that FMI and SQFI support the growth of experts in a broad range of food categories, and where appropriate promote the development of university or college programs with a specialization in auditing as a career path.”
Established in 1996, the FMI Foundation seeks to ensure continued quality and efficiency in the food retailing system and is operated for charitable, educational and scientific purposes. To help support the role of food retailing, the FMI Foundation focuses on research and education in the areas of food safety, nutrition and health. For information regarding the FMI Foundation, visit
The Safe Quality Food (SQF) program is recognized by retailers and foodservice providers around the world as a rigorous, credible food safety management system. It is the only certification system recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) that offers certificates for primary production, food manufacturing, food packaging, distribution and retail/wholesale grocers. This enables suppliers to assure their customers that food has been produced, processed, prepared and handled according to the highest possible standards, at all levels of the supply chain.
Additionally, as a division of the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), the SQF program incorporates continual retailer feedback about consumer concerns. This information is passed on to SQF certified suppliers, keeping them a step ahead of their competitors.

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