Food Safety Takes Center Stage

Security, quality control, and government regulations are just a few of the important subjects to be covered during the Food Safety Summit.
The seventh annual Food Safety Summit, scheduled for March 16 to 18 at the Washington D.C. Convention Center, is billed as the country’s largest trade show and convention on food safety, quality assurance, and food security. This year’s show is expected to be the largest ever, with more than 2,000 attendees are predicted to attend, including food manufacturers, food processors, restaurant and supermarket chains, and similar companies involved in the making, selling, or serving of food.
The Food Safety Summit is for food industry professionals in quality assurance, quality control, food safety, plant management, plant operations, plant sanitation, HACCP, regulatory affairs/compliance, and similar titles. The Summit’s exhibitor floor has been expanded to accommodate the 200-plus exhibiting companies, a number of which will be demonstrating products never seen before in public. Several new food regulators, including some new Cabinet secretaries, will also appear.
Organized by Eaton Hall Exhibitions, which created the first Food Safety Summit in 1999, the show is being sponsored by the National Food Processors Association, the National Restaurant Association, and Food Safety magazine.
New features
There are several new features to this year’s Summit, designed to help companies adapt to the ever-changing requirements for food safety. One new event is a food security simulation exercise, which is a “live-fire” drill conducted by a consultant to the Pentagon. Participants will be trained to respond to a simulated food-security breach, says Scott Goldman, president of Eaton Hall Exhibitions. “They will work out exactly how their company will respond and what steps they will take,” he says. “The focus is on how commercial processors can protect their brand and company even in the event of an actual food security incident.”
There are 21 new conference sessions to discuss many of the latest trends and issues of food safety. The sessions are broken into several different tracks, including lab and technology, food plant operations, and quality assurance. Given the importance of government regulatory compliance, several presentations will focus on business-impacting regulations from the FDA, USDA, and others.
Meat and poultry focus
New to this year’s expo is an entire track dedicated to meat and poultry issues. “Sessions will cover how meat processors are achieving traceability, successful plans for dealing with listeria, the latest reports on how Canada’s BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) issues are impacting the U.S. market, and a look at new technologies being deployed for food safety in meat and poultry,” Goldman explains. This year’s speakers will include top names from the food industry. Past presenters include Kraft, Borden, General Mills, Pillsbury, Tropicana, Marriott, M&M Mars, Disney, and Costco.
Many of the sessions will be interactive in nature, giving attendees a chance to get advice for specific problems and issues. A special interactive workshop on March 16, “Tracking and Tracing Throughout the Supply Chain” will feature one of the world’s leading experts on food traceability. This workshop will cover several topics, including: costs, effects on production and packaging; a review of current security technologies, where they are employed, and their main attributes; a hands-on demonstration of security technology; and identifying and selecting suitable technology solutions for a facility.
More on the show
Expo-only admission is free for food manufacturers and foodservice chains that register by March 10. Suppliers and others pay $50 for expo-only admission. The price for the expo floor and one seminar costs $85. Conference packages that include one or more days of sessions plus admission to the show floor range from $325 to $795. NP
For more information about the Food Safety Summit, phone (800) 746-9646, or visit

Expo Hours
Wednesday, March 16
Pre-conference workshops 8:30 a.m to 5:00 p.m.
Thursday, March 17
 11:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
evening expo floor reception 5:00 to 6:30 p.m.
Friday, March 18
11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.