Science Forum 2011

Conference Program
Conference program is subject to change.

To download speaker biographies, please click here.

To download available presentations, please click on the speaker names highlighted in blue.


Wednesday, May 18

8:00 – 9:30 AM             Welcome Breakfast

Raising the Bar for Food Safety: How Industry Will Meet the Challenge
With the signing of a new food safety law, the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2010, there is an opportunity to form public/private partnerships to help with the implementation and educational aspects of the new guidance and regulations that develop from the new law. GMA and others view this as an opportunity to discuss and share industry knowledge and leading practices to help develop regulatory policy and implementation plans that are effective and embraced by both the industry and the regulators

  • Leon Bruner, DVM., Ph.D.,  Senior Vice President and Chief Science Officer, Grocery Manufacturers Association

9:45 AM – 11:00 PM      General Session

What’s On Tap?  The New Food Safety Regulatory Focus for 2011 and Beyond

In the wake of high profile foodborne illness outbreaks and product recalls, the 111th Congress proposed comprehensive legislation aimed at enhancing public health and product safety.  With legislation receiving wide support from industry, consumer groups and the Obama Administration, the law was finalized before Congress recessed in 2010. Federal agencies now have the challenge of interpretation and implementation of the law, which may mean developing up to 50 regulations and guidance documents. This session will explore the current thinking and regulatory direction of FDA and USDA as they work within the new legal framework to strengthen America’s food safety systems.

  • Joe Levitt, Partner, Hogan Lovells US LLP
  • Stuart Pape, Managing Partner, Patton Boggs, LLP
  • Michael Taylor, Deputy Commissioner for Foods, Food and Drug Administration

11:15 AM - 12:15 PM           General Session

Preventive Controls: Building a Food Safety Plan
Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMPs) address the most important in-plant practices for protecting the food supply from contamination or spoilage during manufacturing, packing and storage, making their periodic review an essential component of product safety.  This session will consider the most recent developments in the understanding of food safety hazards and how to control them in a preventive manner that fits within the structure of a food safety plan.

12:30 – 2:00 PM            Luncheon

Food Safety Regulations: What Makes Sense and What Doesn’t
In 2010, thanks to a strong Bipartisan effort, comprehensive legislation to strengthen and modernize our nation’s food safety system reached the president's desk for signature. In the face of new laws, learn what the CPG industry can expect in 2011 from the agencies and what the industry needs to do to prepare for regulatory, inspection and compliance changes. 

  • Joe Levitt, Partner, Hogan Lovells US LLP

2:15 – 3:45 PM              Concurrent Hot Topic Sessions

Regulating Emerging and Persistent Pathogens: What Are the Risks and Rules?
This session will explore issues related to how the food industry and the federal regulatory agencies are meeting their shared obligation to reduce the public health risk from both traditional (e.g. Salmonella) and emerging (e.g. S. Enteriditis) foodborne pathogens.  Questions to be considered include: What are the current rules regulating pathogens and do they make sense?  What are the regulatory agencies doing and what should they be doing?  What is industry doing to enhance the safety of its products? How are stakeholders approaching emerging pathogens, are these methods adequate and how can they be validated?

Effectively Managing a Complex Supply Chain
Today’s food industry relies on a complex web of ingredient suppliers, contract packaging providers, re-packers, co-manufacturers, brokers and other vendors.  Effectively managing these vendors- and knowing who their suppliers are- is fundamental to modern food safety management.  Learn from industry veterans how supplier management has evolved in the global marketplace in this session.  This speaker will also highlight ingredient sourcing trends, model supplier management practices, results of GMA supply chain surveys and potential changes in the supply chain environment as a result of recent regulatory changes.

Managing Chemical Risks and Risk Perceptions
Leading food and consumer product manufacturers know that it’s not enough to produce a safe product – fears about the mere presence of chemicals in a product can have a significant impact on sales, even when experts and regulators make science-based assurances to the public that there is no safety concern. In this session, scientists and risk communication experts will explore case studies that can help us understand the dimensions and drivers of this challenging situation, and the implications for manufacturers and regulators whose objective is to bolster public confidence in the safety of consumer packaged goods.

3:45 – 4:15 PM              Networking Break

4:15 – 5:30 PM        Concurrent Hot Topic Sessions

Food Additive Regulations at Your Fingertips: Global Regulatory Compliance Made Simple
Food additives can increase the safety and quality of food and provide manufacturers with flexibility to formulate high-value competitive products to meet the needs of various export markets. However, products must be formulated in full compliance with the additive standards of the importing country or else run the risk of being rejected upon entry or recalled. To help companies stay compliant in export markets, GMA has partnered with the Western United States Agricultural Trade Association to create a global database of food additive standards, providing U.S. exporters with a one-stop shop for additive requirements from around the world.  In this session, participants will explore the tremendous value this centralized database offers manufacturers, its various features, and how to navigate it.

Making Food Safer: A New Role for FDA
In this session, George Mason University’s Dr. Richard Williams will challenge the conventional wisdom that all the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) needs to do its job better are more resources. He explains that in its 104-year history of managing food safety, FDA has been using the same tools, regulations and inspection to make food safer, but that these tools are no longer effective. Instead, Williams argues that FDA must shift from its role as policy enforcer to become more of a scientific problem solver focused on prevention measures. The new food safety law should give FDA the opportunity to meet this challenge.


4:15 - 6:00 PM              Thermal Processing Working Group Meeting (GMA Members Only)     

6:00 – 7:00 PM              Welcome Reception

Thursday, May 19

7:30 – 8:45 AM              Networking Breakfast

GMA UpStream Initiative
GMA recently launched the UpStream Initiative, a program designed to drive new levels of engagement between manufacturing and engineering service providers and CPG manufacturers.  In this breakfast briefing, attendees will learn how GMA UpStream is providing a collaborative platform to solve persistent manufacturing challenges using the latest technologies.  This unique initiative is tackling tough issues in the areas of food safety, materials, operations/infrastructure, manufacturing systems, technical services and technology. Find out how the Solutions Center for Excellence and the UpStream Learning Center can give your problem-solving toolbox a new power tool.

9:15 – 10:30 AM            Concurrent Hot Topic Sessions

Research and Science at FDA: New Tools for New Rules
The FDA maintains a comprehensive intramural research program that is the cornerstone for regulatory decisions, enforcement activities, and the development, implementation and evaluation of policies. The agency follows the wisdom that research findings play a major role in helping to ensure the safety of food and consumer products and enhance the ability of consumers to make sound nutrition choices. In this session, attendees will be briefed on FDA’s current and planned research initiatives, learn about their laboratory capabilities, and gain an understanding of how research programs are structured to help the agency fulfill its public health mission.

  • Jeff Farrar, DVM, MPH, PhD, Associate Commissioner for Food Protection, Office of Foods, U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Enhancing Trust and Transparency in the Global Supply Chain: Audits and Factory Standards
Part I: Audits
One central and recurring theme in the ongoing debate over how to improve America’s food safety net is the frequency, quality and objectivity of food audits as they relate to both domestic and imported foods.  As the government presses for more stringent and objective food audits, certification bodies, standard setting groups and auditors are strategically positioning themselves to satisfy this emerging industry need. In this session, participants will learn about new initiatives available to help both domestic and global food makers meet the emerging challenge of assuring higher quality and more objective food audits.

Part II: Factory Data and Standards
As regulators and retailers impose risk-based food safety program requirements, producers are challenged to prove the effectiveness of their risk-reduction activities and controls.  Thanks to increasing adoption of data standards for factory data integration and exchange, quality, process and environmental data can be mapped from commonly used production automation and management systems to support food safety programs. Further, such data can be made easily accessible to support audits and stakeholder requests for information. This presentation will provide attendees an opportunity to learn how producers can cost-effectively secure and maintain access to key markets and channels to market, while providing retailers and regulators greater confidence in their food supply networks.

Changing Diets, Changing Populations: Industry Initiatives to Meet the Needs of Aging Americans
By 2030, the number of adults over 65 in the United States is expected to be nearly double the current level. The over-50 population will also increase dramatically in the next five to 20 years, with the “oldest-old” – those over 85 years of age – growing at an even more accelerated rate.  While much of this growth can be attributed to the aging of baby boomers, it is also a result of Americans living longer lives. And as they live longer lives, they are living more independently to an older age and managing chronic health conditions, all of which impact both lifestyle and food choices.  In this session, learn about the challenges and opportunities this major demographic and lifestyle shift will present for the CPG industry and how companies can develop products that meet the needs this growing population of seniors.  

  • Robert Blancato, Executive Director, National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs
  • Joseph Derochowski, Executive Director, Business Development Food and Beverage, NPD Group

9:15 – 11:45 AM            GMA Committee Meetings (GMA Members Only)

  • Beverage Share Group
  • Chemicals Management Committee
  • Produce Share Group

10:30 – 10:45 AM          Networking Break

10:45 AM – 12:00 PM    Concurrent Hot Topic Sessions

Making a Difference: The National Institute of Food and Agriculture
The USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has the unique mission to advance knowledge for agriculture, the environment, human health and well-being and communities by supporting research, education and extension programs.  In this session, learn how NIFA is fulfilling this mission by funding leading edge research in food production, food safety and nutrition and sustainability and how its national programs are making a difference when it comes to the critical food issues that impact consumers’ every day lives and the nation's future.

  • Alvin Lee, Ph.D., Director of Microbiology and Research Associate Professor, National Center for Food Safety and Technology (Moderator)
  • D. Ramkishan Rao, Ph.D., National Program Leader, Food Science and Technology, National Institute of Food Safety and Nutrition, USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture
  • Jeanette Thurston, Ph.D., National Program Leader, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA

Winning Global Market Challenges: Monitor, Manage and Measure Risk of Your Materials
McCormick & Company has been in the business of sourcing ingredients globally since 1889.  Few companies have their know-how and experience in sourcing pure, wholesome and safe food products from around the world. Join McCormick as they share a case study of the company’s experiences and strategies for developing programs that meet today's import challenges. Learn how it successfully manages the sourcing of material from China, India, Indonesia and other developing nations that have historically been challenged to meet the standards of good agricultural and manufacturing practices.

  • Roger Lawrence, Corporate Vice President, Worldwide Quality Assurance, McCormick & Company, Inc.

Changing Diets, Changing Populations: Industry Initiatives to Meet the Needs of Aging Americans - Continued
This session will continue the conversation begun in the previous panel with a focus on the specific health implications and nutritional needs of aging Americans and the opportunities available to CPG companies to serve this growing community.

  • Mary Christ-Erwin, Director, Food, Beverage and Nutrition Practice, Porter Novelli
  • Joseph Derochowski, Executive Director, Business Development Food and Beverage, NPD Group
  • Robyn Douglas, MPP, RD, Clinical Dietician, Medical Facilities of America

12:15 – 2:00 PM            Luncheon

Food Packaging: Fight or Flight?
Despite the existence of a robust federal regulatory scheme for food contact materials, state governments are increasingly looking to impose their own regulatory frameworks for the use of chemicals in food packaging.  The impact of this trend on the food industry could be significant, with potential for major disruption of interstate commerce as companies may soon be called on to comply with numerous and varied regulatory formats just to do business in the U.S.  This session will outline chemicals management activities in California, Maine, Washington and Minnesota, which are most advanced in their efforts to impose their own regulatory framework, and make the case for uniform federal regulations that will prevent the disruption of interstate commerce and supply chain operations. Future trends in food packaging regulations will also be discussed.

  • Devon Hill, Partner, Keller and Heckman LLP

2:15 – 3:45 PM              Hot Topic Session

Implementing the 2010 Dietary Guidelines
: Industry’s Role Beyond Reformulation
While the food industry is committed to reducing obesity rates, there is debate surrounding a clear role for industry beyond reformulation. Speakers will present their viewpoints on how the food industry can serve as an active partner in the implementation of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 

2:15 – 5:30 PM              GMA Committee Meetings (GMA Members Only)

  • Allergen Committee
  • Biotechnology Committee
  • Microbiological Safety Committee
  • Process and Emerging Technologies Committee

3:45 – 4:00 PM              Networking Break

4:00 – 5:30 PM              Hot Topic Session

New Foods with New Names
Naming a new food product can be a challenging and exciting process that engages company experts from departments as diverse as product development, regulatory affairs and marketing. Names may be derived from scientific characteristics, or completely novel terms may be applied, all the while being mindful of how food labeling regulations come into play.  In this Hot Topic Session, find out how companies have created successful product names that consumers understand and that drive value for the company.  Speakers will present case studies of products currently in the market and outline the path that took them from nameless new product to recognized brand.

6:00 – 6:30 PM  Networking Reception

6:30– 8:00 PM   Dinner

Bizarre Foods’ Andrew Zimmern Presents Fun with Foods
Andrew Zimmern is a James Beard Award-winning TV personality, food writer, chef and teacher, and is regarded as one of the most versatile and knowledgeable personalities in the food world. As the co-creator, host and contributing producer of Travel Channel's hit series, Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern and Andrew Zimmern's Bizarre World, he travels the world, exploring the food in its own terroir, wherever it's found. From restaurants to jungle markets, it's all about discovering the authentic experience. Andrew also served as SuperTarget's meal adventure guide, sharing his passion for ethnic foods with supermarket customers around the country.

Following his presentation, Mr. Zimmern will be available for a short meet-and-greet. Attendees are encouraged to bring their cameras or an item for Mr. Zimmern to autograph.

Friday, May 20*

7:30 – 8:30 AM              Membership Breakfast

GMA 2011 Priorities
In this session, GMA will update members on the outcomes of 2010 projects and be given an overview of the association’s 2011 projects in the areas of product safety, health and wellness, global commerce, sustainability and value chain optimization.

  • Mary Sophos, Executive Vice President, Policy and Strategic Planning, Grocery Manufacturers Association

8:45 AM – 12:00 PM      GMA Council, Committee and Share Group Meetings

  • Food Defense Committee
  • Nutrition, Health and Labeling Committee
  • Regulatory Inspection and Compliance Committee
  • Science and Regulatory Affairs Council

12:15 – 2:00 PM            Science and Regulatory Affairs Council Executive Committee (Open to SRAC Executive Committee members only)

1:00 - 3:00 PM                Economic Adulteration Working Group

*May 20 programming is open to GMA member company representatives only.