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Food Safety and Security Sessions


The food safety and security topical sessions will be anchored by a provocative panel discussion setting the stage for a series of thought-provoking presentations, discussions, and fireside chats taking a closer look at how science, technology, and research can help to solve important food safety and security issues impacting the sustainability of our global food supply and our planet.

The Future of Food Safety with Frank Yiannas, FDA Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response

Tuesday, July 14

In this session, Frank Yiannas, FDA Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response will discuss the cross-section of data science and emerging technologies shaping the future of food safety and how they can deliver benefits for all across the food supply chain. The Deputy Commissioner will participate in Q&A session following the discussion.

Frank Y

About Frank Yiannas

In addition to being the current FDA Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response and working for several well-known global brands including Walmart and the Walt Disney Company, Frank Yiannas is the author of Food Safety Culture: Creating a Behavior-Based Food Safety Management System, Past President of the International Association for Food Protection, and recipient of the 2007 NSF Lifetime Achievement Award for Leadership in Food Safety.

Featured Panel with Live Q&A

Data Revolution: Is Food Safety Sitting on the Side-Lines?
Wednesday, July 15, 9:30-10:30 a.m. CT 
We live in an era of disruptions, where data is the new “oil” and the innovation cycle is shortening like never before in human history. Ironically, big data-driven improvements and disruptions have not yet arrived in one of the most fundamental cornerstones of our industry: food safety. This panel discussion will address what we have learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and what is needed to leverage data and analytics in the future for food safety. 

Panelists include:

  • Moderated by: Vikrant Dutta, Senior Staff Scientist, bioMerieux
  • Maria Velissariou, CSTO, Institute of Food Technologists (IFT)
  • Seán Leighton, Global VP of Food Safety, Quality & Regulatory Affairs, Cargill
  • Cronan McNamara, CEO & Founder, Crème Global

Full Session Program

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  • On-demand Sessions

    Better Food Fights: Current and Alternative Roles for Food Scientists in Food Politics 
    The claim that (food) science creates objective knowledge is central to the functioning of the dominant industrial food system that feeds most of the people on the planet. However, these scientific truths are not always accepted, nor do they mean food is without controversy. In this session we take a multidisciplinary look at the intersection between food politics and food science, and to the possible roles of food scientists.  

    Bridging the Gap Between Quality and Safety: Emergence and Mitigation of Potentially Harmful Processing Contaminants During Thermal Food Processing 
    This session is divided into three different sections (covered by five talks), addressing key issues. Background and analysis of neo-formed contaminants, in-depth information on heat-mediated formation of toxic substances from foodborne precursors, analytical tools for quantifications, as well as nutritional physiological implications, will be presented.  
    Establishing a Sustainable Food System to Improve Microbial Safety of Locally Grown Fresh Produce: Research and Extension Activities Updates 
    In the past 20 years the number of local farmers markets and urban community gardens in the U.S. has grown dramatically. There is limited information on the safety of fresh produce associated with this sector of agriculture. This session will begin with an overview of consumers' perception and awareness of safety of locally grown fresh produce sold at farmers' markets in Kentucky; followed by an updated research of antimicrobial-resistant E. coli and Enterococcus spp. from urban agricultural soil and vegetables elucidated by whole-genome sequencing technology; then the recent research and extension activities of post-harvest plant onsite validation studies and the recognition of antimicrobial resistant issue among farmers' market vendors at Michigan and West Virginia will be explored; then the food safety during the primary production of fresh produce in the field and hydroponic systems will be presented as data collected in experimental and commercial settings; and finally the introduction of West Virginia Small Farm Center outreach activities to assist rural West Virginia small farmers to develop their own food safety plan to improve microbial safety of locally grown produce will conclude the session. The invited speakers' presentations are outcomes of USDA-NIFA funded projects, which represent microbial safety status of locally grown fresh produce in multiple states in the U.S. 

    Food Safety: Going Viral
    Foodborne virus monitoring and testing is evolving. As technology, awareness, and access to testing expands, so does the need for understanding of appropriate application. Our panel of experts will explore: the global virus landscape in food testing and risk management, the cost of recalls and outbreaks, technology innovations, considerations and precautions when implementing a virus testing program, regulatory and epidemiological perspectives, and beyond COVID-19 - how emerging public health threats impact your virus food safety program.<

    FSMA Full Enforcement Impact on Food Safety: Data Analyses, Stats, Trends, and Challenges 
    In this session panelists will present an analysis of data from FDA Form 483s; inspection reports and enforcement actions; FDA recall data; CDC morbidity and mortality and epidemiological information; US Customs food shipment holds and rejections; as well as private third-party certification audit and other private food safety data sources to provide factual insights into whether FSMA is working, how it is working, where it is working and where it is not.

    Hydrostatic Pressure-Based Processes on the Safety and Quality of Meat Products for Human and Pet Consumption 
    Non-thermal food processing technologies can provide safe and fresher food products where heat is not applied, allowing for better retention of sensorial, nutritional, and functional properties. High pressure processing (HPP) is gaining attention over the last few years, with a notable expansion of in use across markets. In the meat industry, HPP is usually applied as a post-lethal intervention to minimize risk associated with the pathogen Listeria monocytogenes and extend shelf-life, while limiting the use of chemical preservatives to prevent the growth of spore formers. Overall, this session features safety updates of HPP for RTE meat products and reduced-salt meats, while exploring HS and HPT as novel strategies for raw-meat processing. 

    Innovations in Cold Plasma and Gaseous Chlorine Dioxide as a Waterless Antimicrobial Process for Industrial Use 
    The session will address the knowledge gaps between laboratory models, pilot-scale proof-of-concept, and implementation on the industrial scale. This symposium will address the critical challenges of troubleshooting engineering controls concerning scaling, worker safety, and compliance with the regulatory framework. 

    Intelligent Packaging Comes of Age: Technology Development, Consumer Views, and Present Applications That Meet Value-Chain Drivers 
    Intelligent packaging is being employed in response to many drivers, such as track and trace, shelf life, allergens, sustainability, and food waste reduction. Intelligent packaging has a unique position within the food and beverage industry because it enables packaging to facilitate added value throughout the value chain. Today, the most readily accessible and simple categories of intelligent packaging encompass branding (e.g. differentiation, protection, and authentication) and functional platforms (e.g. freshness indicators). Consumer research that guides decision making and that has aligned intelligent packaging with current applications in the dairy industry and the advancement of technology into the digital age will be shared. 

    Is This the Protein It Claims to Be? Identification and Purity Methodology for Authentication, Adulteration Detection, and Quality Evaluation 
    The symposium will start with a background about the history of protein frauds, including the 2007 and 2008 melamine incidents and recent ones in Brazil and India. It will introduce the risks and challenges about verifying protein ingredients. Strategies including supply chain management and sophisticated testing methods/standards will be discussed. The presentations will introduce the latest advancements in protein identification and purity determination. The applied matrices include dairy proteins/ingredients, soy, pea, rice, nut proteins, etc. Methods, including amino acid profiling by UHPLC, LC-MS peptide mapping, whole-protein LC-MS, gel electrophoresis, etc., will be presented and discussed. In addition, new developments in protein quality evaluation tools including protein and amino acid digestibility, amino acid requirement patterns, applications of new protein formulations, and the relation with nutrition labeling will be introduced. 

    Low-Energy Electron Beam (LEEB) as a Cost-Efficient and Sustainable Technology to Deliver High-Quality and Microbiologically Safe Ingredients and Products 
    This session will bring together major players from academia, the technology provider side and the food industry to discuss the potential of an emerging technology, LEEB (low-energy electron beam), to revolutionize the way ingredients are processed to deliver high-quality and microbiologically safe ingredients and products. The technological background of high (HEEB) and low (LEEB) energy electron beam irradiation will be comprehensively covered, including technical explanations around equipment manufacture and application range. Newly generated results on the electron beam susceptibility of pathogenic bacteria and viruses on fruit, seed, and spice matrices will be shared.

    Safe Transportation of Human and Animal Food: Best Practices 
    This session will include speakers from the federal government, different industry sectors, and points along the food supply chain. Attendees will learn about current best practices for cleaning and sanitizing vehicles and transportation equipment, vehicle loading, preventing cross contact of allergens, bulk transportation, and providing adequate temperature controls during transport. Industry initiatives that recognize companies that conform to best practices, information exchange between firms, and the need for record keeping will be discussed. FDA personnel will provide information about rule compliance, implementation, and the relationship to other federal and state food safety regulations. 

    What Have We Learned From Cyclospora Outbreaks? 
    This session will discuss the characteristics of Cyclospora, how it enters the food chain from farm to consumers, as well as the key challenges and limitations associated with preventing and controlling Cyclospora. Speakers will also provide solutions that could be successfully implemented to protect the food supply throughout the world from Cyclospora. The session will also highlight how technologies, such as blockchain systems, analytical tools, as well as supplier qualification and verification programs, help to protect against Cyclospora outbreaks. 

  • IFTNEXT On-demand Sessions
    Interpreting Gut Microbiome Research in the Safety Evaluation of Foods and Food Ingredients 
    This session will explore the current understanding of safety evaluation with respect to modulation of the gut microbiome. Speakers will review current regulatory frameworks and risk assessment paradigms and how they might be translated or applied for the evaluation of foods or ingredients that aim to benefit health through gut microbiome modulation. Speakers will consider how microbiome research pertains to and/or is incorporated into the safety assessment of foods, ingredients, and supplements, and where endpoints are identified in a safety context, as well as engage in discussion on how these endpoints relate to microbiome benefits. The session will explore these questions from various product perspectives: supplements such as probiotics, ingredients that may affect the gut microbiome (both that are and are not intended to target the gut microbiome), and diets or dietary patterns.