GMA Science Forum 2019


Stay tuned for an updated agenda with additional details – coming soon!


  • 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:   Innovation – 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. Other sectors have been engaging with consumers outside of the regulatory space in an effort to improve consumers’ health status.  This session will explore all of the different aspects of innovation that are being employed to the benefit of consumers.




    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 Attend this highly popular session to hear an overview of FDA’s draft guidance on Intentional Adulteration and the work that GMA has been doing to influence the implementation of this rule.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


    Warren Stone, Consultant and Former GMA Employee, Zone One Consulting, LLC


    Learning Lab Session 3: New Session Coming Soon!

    Science and Regulatory Affairs Executive Committee (Invite Only)

    12:30 pm — 1:30 pm Networking Luncheon
    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


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

    Devon Hill, Partner, Keller & Heckman


    Learning Lab Session 5: Understanding the Whole Genome Technology

    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.



    Learning Lab Session 6: Cell Culture Technology to Develop New Innovative Products.

    Hear from technical experts, USDA and FDA on the use of cell culture technology to develop products derived from livestock, poultry and fish.  Participants will gain a better understanding of the potential hazards, regulatory oversight and labeling of cell cultured food products during this engaging and thought-provoking session!




    Science and Regulatory Affairs Committee (Invite Only)

    4:30 pm — 5:30 pm Kick-Off Reception
  • 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

    The Future of GMA and the Role of Science in a Modern Trade Association

    Hear from GMA’s new President and CEO, Geoff Freeman on how GMA is transforming to meet the needs of the industry and grow as a trade association.  Dr. Betsy Booren, GMA’s new lead for the Science and Technology division will share how science plays a role in the new modern GMA.  Tom Ferriter, CEO of Bush Brothers and Company, will moderate a dynamic fire side chat with the two new executives.


    Tom Ferriter, CEO, Bush Brothers and Company


    Geoff Freeman, President and CEO, Grocery Manufacturers Associaiton

    Betsy Booren, PhD.,Senior Vice President, Science and Technology, Grocery Manufacturers Association

    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) Breaking Down Blockchain, 2) Clean Labels, Healthy and Product Transparency, 3) Biotechnology Labeling, and 4) Communicating Science and Consumer Trends.

    Moderator: Betsy Booren, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Science and Technology, Grocery Manufacturers Association


    John Keogh, President and Principal Advisor, Shantalla Inc.

    David Lundahl, Chief Executive Officer, InsightsNow, Inc.

    Martin Hahn, Partner, Hogan Lovells

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

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

    11:00 pm – 12:00 pm

    Rapid Fire 1Breaking Down Blockchain - Myth or Magic

    Managing today’s supply chains—all the links to creating and distributing goods—is extraordinarily complex. Depending on the product, the supply chain can span over hundreds of stages, multiple geographical (international) locations, a multitude of invoices and payments, have several individuals and entities involved, and extend over months of time. The complexity of supply chains drives the need for technology solutions for data security, traceability and confidentiality but this has to be balanced with transparency and public information.  Does blockchain provide the solution and value proposition that is being promoted for the CPG Industry?   How might blockchains or elemental parts of a blockchain more effectively transform the supply chain and logistics industry?  What are some of the alternative systems to achieve traceability, provenance and authenticity while contributing to transparency and consumer trust?  Joins us to hear the reality of case-use examples from technology users, a new perspective from blockchain experts, some practical recommendations and be able to provide your real-time critical feedback to better understand this changing environment.  The session will be prefaced by a series of six bi-weekly blockchain email insights which you will receive starting January 9th


    Brian Bedard, Executive Director of the Science and Education Foundation, Grocery Manufacturers Association


    John Keogh, President and Principal Advisor, Shantalla Inc.


    Rapid Fire 2: Clean Labels, Healthy and Product Transparency

    Clean labeling and product transparency are increasingly important to consumers. In fact, recent Nielsen and Label Insight research found that 39% of U.S. consumers say they would switch from the brands they currently buy to others that provide clearer, more accurate product information. Previously thought to be reserved for small upstarts, transparency has become the calling card for fast-moving consumer goods manufacturers of all sizes trying to capture growth. And there’s a lot the industry can learn from companies that have built their brands on a platform of transparency. Session attendees can expect an engaging discussion on the current state of clean labeling with founders of companies that are leading with transparency.


    David Lundahl, Chief Executive Officer, InsightsNow, Inc.


    Rapid Fire 3: Biotechnology Disclosure Act and Labeling Requirements

    With a final rule on the new mandatory Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (Biotech Disclosure Law) expected before the end of the year and a tight timeline for compliance anticipated, plan to join this session for more information on how this new standard will impact your company. This session will help you learn more about key elements of the final rule and how your company can prepare to comply.

    Moderator:  Karin Moore, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Grocery Manufacturers Association


    Martin Hahn, Partner, Hogan Lovells

    Samuel Jockel, Associate, Keller and Heckman LLP


    Rapid Fire 4: From the Laboratory to Local News: Communicating Science to Skeptical Consumers 

    Non-GMO carrots. Gluten-free Bacon. Plant-based lettuce. Consumers are bombarded with more labels than ever before and communicating the science-based facts are more difficult than ever. This highly complex, often extremally technical information needs to be broken down into bite-sized messages that the average consumer can understand. Hear directly from communicators who work with scientists every day about bridging the gap between your science and messages that resonate. A wrap-up discussion around emerging consumer trends will follow as we look ahead at what new topics present opportunity for education in the future.


    Katie McBreen, Vice President, Communications and Research, Grocery Manufacturers Association


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

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

    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.


    1:30 pm – 2:30 pm

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

    Rapid Fire 1Breaking Down Blockchain - Myth or Magic 

    Rapid Fire 2: Clean Labels, Healthy and Product Transparency

    Rapid Fire 3: Biotechnology Disclosure Act and Labeling Requirments

    Rapid Fire 4: Communicating Science and Consumer Trends

    2:45 pm – 3:45 pm

    Breakout Sessions:

    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. 

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


    Tammy Hogan, Quality Manager, General Mills

    Maile Hermida, Partner, Hogan Lovells US LLP


    Processed-Formed Chemicals and Proposition 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.


    Trent Norris, Partner, Arnold & Porter


    Debate:  Current Practices and Future Opportunities in Standards of Identity (SOI)

    Conflicting opinions exist on the role of SOIs in the marketplace.  FDA’s Nutrition Innovation Strategy seeks to modernize Standards of Identity 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.  The public has weighed in on the controversies surrounding the use of dairy terms in the plant-based products.  Join us for a spirited debate on highlighting the changing role of SOIs and future of food standards in the marketplace. 



    Acid and Acidified Foods Classification Based on Food Safety Risk Assessment and Abnormal Container Root Cause Analyses

    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. An additional discussion on conducting root cause analyses to troubleshoot issues associated with abnormal containers and packaging will be included.


    4:15 pm – 5:30 pm

    Sip and Chat 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. Choose to attend the session with the topic of interest to you!

    1.  Nutrition Innovation Strategy - Where do we go next?

    2.  Nanomaterials: Detection, Quantification Across Diverse Food Matrices and Toxicity Assessments

    3.  Inspection Trends and Recall Learnings

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

    Note: This event is not open to the Press

    5:30 pm – 6:30 pm Conference Connections (Reception)

    6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

    Forum Finale & Dinner with Entertainment


    Scott Dikkers, 

    Founder of The Onion and Public Relations and Marketing Authority


    With The Onion, Scott Dikkers created the original “fake news” platform and grew it into one of today’s most recognized comedy brands. He shares his experiences in how being committed to a unique vision—and standing firm in the face of seemingly impossible challenges and threats—can translate into genuine differentiation and robust brand equity for any organization.

    As co-founder and longest-serving editor-in-chief of The Onion, Scott has a deep appreciation of the improbable. It’s a quality that not only describes how he created a celebrated comedy institution, but also of his escape from dire childhood circumstances.

    A small, shy kid, Scott endured an upbringing marked by poverty, divorce, bullying, and even a suicide attempt at the age of eight. He found solace and inspiration from Mad, the groundbreaking satirical magazine, which fed his passion for comedy and later helped inspire him to create The Onion.

    In his latest book, Outrageous Marketing, and his many speaking engagements, Scott details how he staffed the company with quirky individuals who often had unstable family environments similar to his and shared his dark sense of humor. You’ll laugh as you hear how the freedom and support he gave his writing team enabled The Onion to break through the noise in a media-saturated landscape, overcome doubters and legal obstacles, and prove time and again that being outrageous leads to the best possible version of your brand. Furthermore, you’ll understand how some of the most basic principles embraced by Scott can help you transcend your organization’s marketing limitations, get the best work out of your employees, and attract devoted lifelong customers.

  • 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)

    Nutrition, 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)

    Packaging Committee (Members Only)