By Natalie Dyenson and Deb Kane

Simply stated, Root cause analysis (RCA) is a problem-solving method used to identify the underlying cause or causes of a problem or issue, in order to identify appropriate solutions and resolve issues in a permanent manner. Getting to the root cause is a cost-effective approach to management and operations in any organization. Identifying the root cause allows for implementation of effective corrective and preventive actions to avoid reoccurrence of issues and is a crucial step in managing risks.  Preventing reoccurrence typically means you successfully “Got to the Root Cause” of your problem or issue, however despite its importance, many people still view RCA as a complex and confusing process.  In this workshop, we will demystify the process of RCA by breaking it down into simple, easy-to-understand steps.  We will also shed light on Regulatory expectations for the investigative process, due diligence needed for any investigations and provide insights on best practices for successful implementation currently used within the industry.

Whether you are a novice or an expert, we’re asking that you join us on Tuesday May 9, 2023, at the Food Safety Summit, being held at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center located in Rosemont, IL as we kick off the first workshop “Got Root Cause?” This in-depth standalone session promises to be both educational and interactive, and we’ve organized the following subject matter experts to lead the discussions: Tim Jackson (Sr. Science Advisor, FDA), Tim King (Founder, Quality Matters LLC), Angie Siemens (VP, Food Safety, Quality & Regulatory, Cargill), John N. Butts (Principal, FoodSafetyByDesign, LLC), Natalie Dyenson (VP, Food Safety & Quality, Dole, plc.), and Deb Kane (VP, Food Safety, Quality, EHSS & Regulatory, J&J Snack Foods Corp.).

We will review why it is critical to get to the core root cause of problems utilizing such tools as the “Five Whys” or “fishbone diagrams” and our experts will provide tips on when and how to use such tools.  We will discuss essential information needed to launch an investigation, who to involve in the investigative process, what type of data should be reviewed and how to use existing data collections to cast a wide net to avoid bias as you work to formulate your hypotheses.  You will learn how to organize all inputs and data, and the resultant monitoring activities needed to verify effective corrective and preventive actions.  

The panel session will also include engaging moderators Brendan Niemira (Research Leader, USDA-ARS) and Robert Prevendar (Director of Global Food Safety & QA, Yum! Brands) to guide you through interactive group activities which will provide attendees with the opportunity to practice using the demonstrated tools and apply learnings from the workshop alongside your fellow colleagues during a simulated case study exercise. This sort of iterative learning technique will provide a unique opportunity for a one-of-a-kind hands-on learning experience you won’t want to miss.  

So if you want to network with colleagues in the industry, learn about new tools and techniques or just refresh your root cause analysis skills, this workshop is the place to be!  

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