GMA Science Forum 2019


Please keep in mind, the event programming is subject to change.
Check frequently for updates!


  • Tuesday, March 26, 2019

    7:00 am – 4:00 pm

    Registration Open

    8:30 am – 9:30 am

    Continental Breakfast with Exhibitors

    9:30 am – 12:30 pm 

    Learning Lab Session 1: FDA Nutrition Innovation Strategy – What Does the Future Hold?

    FDA’s comprehensive, multi-year Nutrition Innovation Strategy seeks to cut obesity rates and reduce the prevalence of chronic conditions such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease through several key activities. This session will focus on providing an update on current activities and discussing areas of opportunity as FDA seeks to modernize Claims, Standards of Identity and Ingredient Labels.

    Learning Lab Session 2: Tools for Building a Robust Food Defense Plan

    July 2019.  Are you ready? The first compliance date for the last of the FSMA Final Rules, Intentional Adulteration, is nearly here. Attend this highly popular session to hear an overview of FDA’s draft guidance on Intentional Adulteration and the work that GMA has been doing to influence the implementation of this rule. Then hear from smaller, medium and larger companies on how they approached their vulnerability assessments. Lastly, as part of this session you will have a unique opportunity to perform a hands-on activity where you will collaborate with your peers on a sample vulnerability assessment. Don’t miss out. Attend this session!


    Kristen Spotz, Senior Manager, Food Safety and Quality Assurance,                  Grocery Manufacturers Association

    Learning Lab Session 3: Building Consumer and Policy Maker Trust via Transparency, How brands are utilizing SmartLabel®

    This session will update participants on recent changes to SmartLabel® and provide use cases to demonstrate how companies are using SmartLabel® as a consumer engagement tool


    Julie Savoie, Director, Industry Affairs, Grocery Manufacturers Association


    Tim Goudie, Social Media Director, The Coca-Cola Company

    Science and Regulatory Affairs Executive Committee (Invite Only)
    1:30 pm — 4:30 pm

    Learning Lab Session 4: Current Issues in CPG Packaging

    Packaging is fundamental when it comes to ensuring the quality and safety of products on the market. More and more, the consumer-packaged goods (CPG) industry has been called upon to develop packaging solutions which are sustainable without sacrificing the quality and safety of products. Attend this session to hear from experts about current issues impacting CPG packaging, including topics such as packaging end-of-life, chemicals of concern, food contact materials, and sustainability.


    James Huang, Director, Food Contact Materials, Global SRA, The Coca-Cola Company

    Learning Lab Session 5: Understanding the Whole Genome

    For current food safety professionals, understanding whole genome sequencing (WGS) technology is a necessity. This lecture style session provides the foundational knowledge for WGS technology and data analysis.  Participants will also learn how the technology is used, especially for investigating foodborne illnesses.  Discussion further includes different applications of WGS technology and reference sources for expanding your knowledge.

    Science and Regulatory Affairs Committee (Invite Only)

    4:30 pm — 5:30 pm Kick-Off Reception
    5:00 pm — 7:00 pm Biotechnology Committee (Members Only)
  • Wednesday, March 27, 2019

    6:30 am — 5:00 pm

    Registration Open

    7:30 am — 8:15 am Continental Breakfast with Exhibitors

    8:15 am — 9:15 am

    Welcome & Opening Keynote

    How to Communicate “The Science” in a World of Consumer Mistrust and Key Trends & Behaviors Impacting the CPG industry

    This session was created because scientists and regulatory folks often face challenges communicating the science behind issues and topics in bite sized, consumer-friendly ways. This session will help bridge the gap between communicators and scientists from the perspective of a communicator. The session will wrap up with a discussion of key trends and consumer behaviors that are impacting the CPG industry.


    Joseph Hansen, Public Relations and Crisis Communications,                            Biotechnology Innovation Organization

    Lynn Dornblaser, Director, Consumer Packaged Goods Trend Insight, Mintel

    9:45 am — 10:45 am

    General Session:                                                                                              Rapid Fire General Session Featuring Four Hot Topics Impacting the CPG Industry

    This session will include an overview of four hot topics impacting the CPG industry and tee up the four follow-up breakout sessions that will dive deeper into each of the topics. Topics include: 1) Blockchain for the Supply Chain, 2) Clean labels, healthy and product transparency, 3) Impact of trade challenges and ingredient sourcing, 4) Crisis Communications and Social Media.

    12:15 pm – 1:15 pm

    Keynote Lunch with Speaker: Update on FDA’s Regulatory Agenda

    FDA will provide an update on the agency’s current regulatory agenda and what the industry can expect to see moving forward in the areas of health and nutrition strategies, FSMA implementation, labeling, ingredient safety and more.


    Dr. Stephen Ostroff, M.D., Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary MedicineFDA 

    1:30 pm – 2:30 pm

    2nd Round Rapid Fire Sessions (Repeated Sessions From 1st Round)

    Rapid Fire 1Blockchain for the Supply Chain

    Rapid Fire 2: Clean Labels, Healthy and Product Transparency

    Rapid Fire 3: Impact of Trade Challenges Currently Facing and Ingredient Sourcing

    Rapid Fire 4: Crisis Communications and Social Media

    2:45 pm – 3:45 pm

    Breakout Sessions:

    Clear as Mud: Supply Chain Verification in Co-Manufacturing Arrangements

    Do you co-manufacture food under someone else’s brand?  Do you, as the brand owner, manufacture one or more products at co-manufacturers?  If so, this session is just for you.  Attend this session to ensure you fundamentally understand certain supplier verification requirements in situations involving co-manufacturing arrangements.  FDA’s enforcement discretion, ends shortly (November 2019).    Join this session to learn about the issues that lead to FDA’s enforcement discretion and the proposed solution that GMA brought to FDA.  In addition, hear from other companies how they manage supplier verification in situations involving co-manufacturing. 


    Processed-Formed Chemicals and Prop-65

    Processed-formed chemicals (PFCs) may be present in food either due to their natural presence in the diet or as reaction products due to the historical culinary practice of cooking. PFCs offer a unique challenge to food safety authorities due to the nature and context in which these compounds are produced. The consequence is misleading or potentially incorrect information to consumers and risk managers. This session provides various perspectives of the latest science around PFCs and will dive into topics such as PFCs and Proposition 65 and the use of risk assessment methods for PFC food safety.


    Current Trends and Future Opportunities in Claims

    FDA’s Nutrition Innovation Strategy seeks to modernize claims in an effort to promote public health through empowering consumers to make better and more informed decisions about their diets and health and fostering the development of healthier food options.  This session will focus on highlighting the current trends and possible future directions of claims.


    Acid and Acidified Foods Classification Based on Food Safety Risk Assessment

    Currently there is no guideline (from industry or FDA) on how these ingredients and products can be classified to determine if products need to be filed with FDA or not. In this session, we will discuss a risk-based approach that is currently being discussed by the affected industry.

    4:15 pm – 5:30 pm

    Idea Exchange:

    We are excited to announce the continuation of our highly popular Idea Exchange Program!  This year, the Idea Exchange will be staged in an engaging format allowing all attendees to participate in interactive, intimate and informal discussions around industry “hot topics”, critical issues or simply sharing of ideas and information from a variety of perspectives. 

    Modernizing Claims

    Nanomaterials: Detection, Quantification Across Diverse Food Matrices and Toxicity Assessment

    Inspection Trends and Recall Learnings

    Ready to Eat and Not Ready to Eat; Listeria and Environmental Monitoring

    5:30 pm – 6:30 pm Conference Connections

    6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

    Forum Finale 

  • Thursday, March 28, 2019

    7:00 am – 5:00 pm

    Registration Open

    7:45 am – 9:00 am Breakfast with Exhibitors

    9:00 am – 12:00 pm

    Committee Meetings:

    Chemicals Management Committee (Members Only)

    Regulatory Inspection & Compliance Committee (Members Only)

    Nutritional Health & Labeling Committee (Members Only)

    12:00 pm — 1:00 pm

    1:00 pm — 4:00 pm

    Networking Lunch

    Committee Meetings:

    Processing Technologies Committee (Members Only)

    Microbiological Safety Committee (Members Only)

    Allergen Committee (Members Only)

    Biotechnology Committee (Members Only) (Tentative)

    4:15 pm — 5:15 pm Closing Reception