A capital event

As the headquarters for the nation’s food-safety agencies, it’s appropriate that Washington, D.C. is again the host for the 2009 Food Safety Summit.

The annual event will give attendees the opportunity to learn about the latest advancements and regulations governing food safety in the United States as well as international supply-chain, auditing and traceability issues. The summit will be returning to the Washington D.C. Convention Center from April 26 through 29.

The focus of the summit is, as always, education. It opens on April 26, with a full-day workshop devoted to ServSafe training and certification. This specialized course will give foodservice managers and operators an understanding of critical issues such as sanitation; the flow of food through the operation; and sanitary facilities and pest management. The ServSafe session will also cover ways to ensure ongoing employee training, and how to keep food safety working in every location.

This course will be presented by Peter Good, a nationally recognized ServSafe trainer with more than 20 years experience in instructing trainers for companies such as McDonald’s, Brinker International, Whataburger and Chick-Fil-A Inc. Good is formerly the director of education for the Illinois Restaurant Association and has conducted dozens of “train-the-trainer’ workshops for the National Restaurant Association (NRA). The workshop itself qualifies as a total of 16 hours of continuing education credit, of which four of them are “Train-the-Trainer,” and includes the ServSafe Certification Exam and Certificate. The “Train-the-Trainer” portion of the seminar is designed for those who have passed the first 12 hours of the course with a score of at least 90 percent and can now train others. Attendees will need to stay for the entire time with a limit of 40 students on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Additional educational sessions at the summit will cover topics such as new technology, HACCP, process control, third-party auditing, regulatory issues, and the role of public health agencies. All sessions will have an expanded reach of speakers from the industry, trade associations, regulatory agencies and academia. Scott Wolters, director of tradeshows and conferences for summit producer BNP Media, says that the educational offerings at the 2009 Food Safety Summit are the best ever offered.

“I attribute the major uptick in the quality of the educational offerings to the extraordinary efforts and personal commitment of the summit’s 14-member Executive Educational Advisory Committee (EEAC) as well as changes which were made in response to attendee evaluations after the 2008 event,” he says.

Among the changes for 2009 are extended session lengths to 90 minutes to enable more in-depth topic coverage, fewer concurrent sessions so attendees won’t need to select between similarly applicable topics at the same time, and the elimination of a track format for a broader range of topics.

Three keynote sessions will also be held, with the first given by Michael S. Kaufman, chairman of the NRA board of directors. Kaufman will discuss “Policy, Politics and the Marketplace: Working with Industry and Government to Improve Safety and Quality.”

The second will be conducted by Dr. David Theno, retired senior vice president and chief product safety officer for Jack in the Box Inc. His address, “Food Safety Is No Accident…It Takes Leadership,” will cover topics such as a personalized view of leadership in a complex industry and how people can become strong leaders while being committed to food safety and quality through corporate strategic direction. It takes place on April 28.

The final keynote on April 29 will have an international perspective. Given by Dr. David Nabarro, assistant secretary general and deputy coordinator for the High Level Task Force on the Global Food Security Crisis at the United Nations, “A Collaborative Approach To Global Food Security,” will give the audience a look at the practical ways the Comprehensive Framework for Action can achieve success at a country, regional and global level, and the related financial implications. The critical need for a collaborative approach between the public and private sectors to effectively leverage the collective industry resources will also be addressed.

Along with the educational sessions, attendees will have a chance to learn about what’s out on the market at the summit’s exhibition hall. More than 200 companies and organizations will be showcasing their offerings. The exhibit hall will also be hosting the annual poster session. Industry scientists, academia, government and interested parties will be able to present important scientific findings to summit attendees.

For more information and details about the 2009 Food Safety Summit, visit www.foodsafetysummit.com.