The SQF Conference provides a variety of education opportunities for SQF stakeholders and food safety professionals in the manufacturing, retail and foodservice sectors.

The education program is delivered by food safety industry experts who offer sessions targeted to both those new to SQF as well seasoned SQF users. In addition, non-industry keynote speakers provide insights on personal development and general interest.

The conference also offers an opportunity to participate in Knowledge Swaps, where participants can get ideas, swap best practices, share pain points and connect with peers in their food safety category


Exhibitor Exchange
Keynote/General Session
Knowledge Swaps
Learning Lab
Other Activities
Pre Conference Training Classes
Social Events

Choose a Day

Monday, November 4, 2019

8:00 AM 5:00 PM
Pre-Conference Training Classes

SQFI will offer several training classes prior to the conference. The classes require payment of an additional fee, which can be selected during the conference registration process. You may also register for the training classes without registering for the conference.  Visit the Training Classes page for more information

2:00 PM 6:00 PM
5:00 PM 6:00 PM
Ambassador Program Orientation & Reception in the Exhibitor Exchange (by invite only)

Participants of the Ambassador Program are invited to a conference orientation and networking reception on Monday, November 4 from 5.00 pm – 6.30 pm. Meet your fellow “newbies,” find out how to make the most of the conference and get a private tour of the Exhibitor Exchange before the conference starts.


Tuesday, November 5, 2019

6:45 AM 6:00 PM
7:30 AM 9:00 AM
Welcome Breakfast in the Exhibitor Exchange
9:00 AM 10:00 AM
Shaping the Future of Food Safety Together: The Power of Partnership

Teamwork is key to protecting our food supply from foodborne illness, and  that takes trust, cooperation, communication and practice. In this unforgettable and inspiring keynote, The Passing Zone, one of America’s most dynamic performing duos, won’t just tell you how to be a high-performance team; they will show you. Jon and Owen not only work together – their safety is in each other’s hands! Witness a clear example of collaboration between two people who have prepared, who rely on each other’s strengths, who communicate, trust, and have fun cooperating. Through big laughs, exciting stunts and flawless teamwork, you’ll learn valuable lessons on the importance of recovering from setbacks, the value of trust, what it takes to create teamwork excellence and how to laugh together. Don’t miss this unique demonstration of the amazing things that can be accomplished when people work together.

The Passing Zone

10:00 AM 10:30 AM
Networking Break in the Exhibitor Exchange
10:30 AM 11:15 AM
General Session
11:15 AM 12:00 PM
General Session
12:00 PM 1:30 PM
Lunch in the Exhibitor Exchange
1:30 PM 3:00 PM
Knowledge Swaps

Join in a lively discussion about the issues and challenges that impact food safety and quality professionals and SQF stakeholders. Get ideas, swap best practices, share your pain points and connect with your peers in your food safety category. In addition to food sector category-focused discussions, you’ll also be able to participate in issue-focused roundtables.

3:00 PM 3:30 PM
Networking Break in the Exhibitor Exchange
3:30 PM 4:30 PM
Fake Food: Combating the Scourge of Food Fraud and Adulteration

From “honey laundering” to melamine in baby formula and  horse meat in beef products, it is estimated that food fraud and adulteration costs the global economy more than $49 billion a year. Incidents of food and beverage mislabeling and fraud, particularly in high value food commodities are on the rise, damaging public trust in the integrity of the food chain and impacting the competitiveness and resilience of food businesses. Gain insights from experts in this area on recent examples of food fraud and learn how food fraud can be predicted and mitigated.


Andrew Swift, Director Science Services at Capita, CEO and CEO of Fera Science Ltd (UK Food Environment and Rural Affairs)

Liam Gimon, Criminal Intelligence Officer, Illicit Goods and Global Health Programme, INTERPOL Global Complex for Innovation

Peter Fowler, Senior Counsel for Enforcement, Office of Policy and International Affairs, United States Patent and Trademark Office

4:30 PM 5:00 PM
The 2019 SQFI Achievement Awards

The SQFI Quality Achievement Awards Program recognizes the outstanding commitment, support and performance of individuals who contribute to endorsing and improving the SQF Program and mission around the globe. Finalists will be recognized, and the winners announced at the conference.

5:00 PM 7:00 PM
Happy Hour in the Exhibitor Exchange

Join your peers for a casual networking reception in the Exhibitor Exchange. Catch up with old friends and network with potential business partners as you peruse the 50+ exhibit booths.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

6:30 AM 6:30 PM
7:00 AM 8:00 AM
Breakfast in the Exhibitor Exchange
8:00 AM 9:30 AM
SQFI 2019 and Beyond: Shaping the Future of Food Safety Together

Get answers to your questions about the SQF program and Edition 8 of the SQF Code at this interactive town hall-style session. Participants are encouraged to submit their questions and comments via an online app.

9:45 AM 10:30 AM
Learning Labs

Communication is For the Birds! Using Personal Communication Styles to Create a Compliance-Conscious Culture

Maintaining standards and certifications requires meaningful teamwork across all disciplines and departments. How do you do that when your company may have become complacent, or grown rapidly, or your ‘team’ is so large that you are compartmentalized? In this helpful session you’ll learn how to identify and understand your personal communication style, how to navigate conflict and why this benefits your role and helps create and maintain a compliance-conscious food safety culture. Discover how to support and encourage communication plans that promote personal ownership, accountability and responsibility at all levels of an organization, drive continuous improvement and create lasting change that is embedded in the company culture.


Betty Murie, Global Compliance Manager, Wedderspoon Organic NZ Ltd
Amy Moore, Principal, The Change Office

Creating Order out of Chaos – Tools and Tips for Managing Your Approved Supplier Program

Product recalls resulting from supplier performance issues impact the entire supply chain and can be traced back to failures and weaknesses in manufacturer approved supplier programs. Experts from both the auditing and manufacturing viewpoint will share their perspectives on the obstacles and challenges they have encountered and provide tools and tips for creating a sustainable approved supplier program that provides greater protection from food safety and quality risks.


Peter Begg, VP of Quality and Food Safety, Glanbia Nutritionals
Roger Roeth, EAGLE Certification Group

Make Food Safety & Quality a Reality with SQF Magic Clause 2.4.2. – Risk Assessment

Boost your understanding of risk assessment and how to use various risk assessment models. Discover tools for employing risk assessment methods when developing & implementing SQF Food Safety & Quality management systems onsite, and when implementing the requirements of SQF Code elements.


Goranka Platisa, Food Safety & Quality Consultant & Trainer, PCR Corp

10:30 AM 11:00 AM
Networking Break in the Exhibit Hall
11:00 AM 11:45 AM
Learning Labs

Food Safety Myth Busters: The Truth Behind Common Misconceptions about PCQI

“I am exempt,” “My Foreign Supplier Program does not need to be in writing,” “I do not need to do environmental monitoring,” “I do not need approved suppliers,” “I am not an FSVP importer so I cannot control foreign suppliers,” “I still have time to comply.” Join industry veteran “Dr. Bob” as he explains the truth behind common misconceptions about FDA’s Preventative Controls for Human Foods rule and shares tools and tips for compliance.

Bob Strong, Senior Food Safety Consultant, SAI Global

Improve Your Audit Score: How to Prevent the Top 10 Audit Non-Conformances

It’s time for your SQF audit. Those words can strike fear even in the most confident sites because it generally means the spotlight is on you, the practitioner and the magnifying glass is coming out. The best way to ease the fear is to be audit-ready at any moment. Would you be ready if an auditor came to your site today? Join this session as veteran consultant, Jeff Chilton, discusses best practices and the reasons for staying audit-ready, all the time.

Jeff Chilton, Vice President of Consulting Services, Alchemy Systems

Practical Root Cause Analysis for Allergen Management

Allergen labeling errors due to inadequate allergen management programs cause the largest number of food recalls in North America and around the world every year. This session will examine the nature of these recalls and the components of the SQF Food Safety management system that may need attention or review to error proof the system and reduce the number of these recalls. Using the Ishikawa or fishbone diagram method as the focus, participants will learn possible causes of the problem and discuss ideas to further focus on corrective actions such as poka-yoke (mistake-proofing or inadvertent-error prevention) to help eliminate product labeling defects due to human errors.

Jennifer McCreary, Technical Manager Training and Education Services, NSF International

11:45 AM 1:15 PM
Lunch in The Exhibitor Exchange
1:15 PM 2:15 PM
2019 SQF Food Safety Game Changers Challenge

Heads up problem solvers! SQFI is seeking innovative game-changing ideas that tackle and solve a food safety challenge faced by professionals in the food industry. In this competition, selected participants will get the opportunity to share their pioneering research, innovative idea or newly implemented practice or program that will/has overcome a challenge and improve(d) food safety for a chance to win an all-expenses paid trip to the 2020 conference in Orlando, Florida. Learn more here.

2:15 PM 2:45 PM
Networking Break in the Exhibitor Exchange
2:45 PM 3:30 PM
Learning Labs

Best Practices for Allergen Preventive Control Plans

Global regulations and the SQF Code require allergen control plans as preventive controls to protect consumers with food allergies. Join this session to learn industry best practices for allergen management including supplier ingredient and packaging programs, transportation and distribution, allergen storage, processing, labeling and packaging, employee attire, sanitary design of equipment, sanitation validation for shared lines, and adjacent line cleaning.

Tracie G. Sheehan, Vice President, Mérieux NutriSciences

Ramp Up Your Recall Readiness: How to Successfully Navigate a Pathogen Recall

Despite best intentions, you find yourself in a recall situation. Now what? This session will help you navigate through the sequence of events following a recall. Uncover the value of including legal counsel and subject matter experts in your recall team as you conduct a root cause analysis and why this is critical to establishing effective communications with regulatory agencies and responding to FDA’s 483 violations. Discover why a “seek and destroy mission” should be part of a routine environmental investigation during a recall as well as in post-recall programs. Learn how to use your food safety data, whether from environmental monitoring positive sites, audit results or undetected breakdowns in your food safety systems, to identify system failures that could lead to recall situations.

Steve Decker, Senior Director of Technical Services, Mérieux NutriSciences
Dave Evanson, Technical Services Consultant, Mérieux NutriSciences

3:45 PM 4:30 PM
Modern Slavery and the Impact on Supply Chains: What You Need to Know and Why

More than 40 million people in 167 countries are trapped in forced labor or “modern slavery,” 60% of which are associated with manufacturing supply chains. These people make the products we buy and harvest the food we eat. In this eye-opening and compelling keynote, you’ll get an overview of the changing human trafficking paradigm and how it relates to modern slavery, hear what is being done to fight against it and learn how it relates to business and reputation risk, particularly within the food industry. You’ll also leave with tangible, practical tools and proactive approaches to help identify and address this potential problem. For both retailers and manufacturers, understanding the issue and knowing how to identify the boundaries of supply chain involvement will go a long way to help safeguard your reputation, ensure compliance with the SQF Ethical Sourcing Code and play a pivotal role in fighting against this terrible crime.

Matt Friedman, Chief Executive Officer, The Mekong Group

6:30 PM 10:00 PM
A Taste of Texas at Knibbe Ranch

Grab your cowboy (or cowgirl) boots and hat and join us for a night under the stars at Knibbe Ranch, one of the few remaining Century Heritage Ranches in the State of Texas. You’ll enjoy music, dancing, entertainment, great food and a big ‘ol Texas experience that you’ll be talking about for years to come. Complimentary for SQF Conference registrants. More information coming soon !

Thursday, November 7, 2019

6:30 AM 11:00 AM
7:00 AM 8:00 AM
Breakfast in the Exhibitor Exchange
8:00 AM 9:00 AM
Cannabis Edibles: Understanding the Risks and Regulations

In April 2019, the FDA moved one step closer to developing regulations for foods and beverages infused with CBD, the non-hallucinogenic compound in cannabis. Regulations are already in place in Canada and the Caribbean and, like it or not, cannabis-derived products will soon become mainstream. Regardless of one’s personal stance on the subject, understanding both the regulations and risks of cannabis as a dietary supplement or food ingredient will be essential for current and future certified SQF sites. In this illuminating discussion, a panel of industry experts in cannabis regulations and product/ingredient manufacturing will provide their learnings to date and answer questions from the audience.

Frank Schreurs, Regional Representative, Canada & NW U.S.A., Safe Quality Food Institute

9:15 AM 10:00 AM
Learning Labs

How to Build Trust with Less Paper

Who doesn’t want less paperwork?! Learn how to minimize paperwork by writing clearly to meet SQF Code requirements. Discover how instead of a utilizing a pragmatic approach to define integrated management systems and articulate company and SQF-compliant methodology, you can write down what you do and earn trust through simple communication.

Cathy M. Crawford, President, HACCP Consulting Group

Do You Know What’s in Your Supply Chain? Using Ingredient Standards to Protect Food Integrity

Complex food supply chains create multiple opportunities to damage the food supply, either intentionally or unintentionally. Ensuring the overall reliability of the food supply system depends on the integration of multiple control and information systems and on accurate communication among these systems. Learn why ingredient standards play an essential role in protecting the integrity and safety of the food supply and how sites can use ingredient standards as part of their supply chain control program.

Steven Gendel, Director, Food Science, Food Chemicals Codex

10:00 AM 10:30 AM
Networking Break in the Exhibitor Exchange
10:30 AM 11:15 AM
Learning Labs

Effective Training Tools for Multicultural Employees

Immigrants working in food manufacturing and other food business operations whose primary language is not English, face multiple challenges to effectively comply with what is required from food safety regulatory agencies and other regulatory bodies. This informative session will provide tips and tools for delivering effective food safety training for multicultural staff.

Justo A. Garcia, Health Inspector, City of Minneapolis

Using Internal Audits to Prepare for and Maintain Certification

Using the packaging industry as a case study, this session will provide tools and tips to ensure that your internal audit is a sufficiently rigorous test of your food safety program. Learn how to effectively follow up on corrective actions from previous audits and adequately challenge your food defense plan.

Karen Leacock, Senior Project Manager, NSF International

11:30 AM 12:30 PM
Lessons in Leadership

Carey Lohrenz

Carey Lohrenz, first female F-14 Tomcat Fighter Pilot in the U.S. Navy,

Lohrez, the first female F-14 Tomcat Fighter Pilot in the U.S. Navy will share the fundamentals that helped her win in the cockpit at Mach 2. Her inspirational story will challenge, inform, and inspire you to move to higher levels of performance and provide takeaways that can produce both short-term and life changing results.

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