2018 SQF International Conference


 Schedule | CE Credits | Keynotes | Learning Labs| Training Classes | Speaker Resources

Continuing Education Credits

SQF Professional

Full participation in the SQF International Conference meets the 15 hour continuous professional development requirements for re-registration as an SQF Professional.

Certified Food Scientist (CFS)

This program qualifies for Certified Food Scientist (CFS) renewal contact hours (CH).  CFS Certificants may claim a maximum of 12.5 CH for their participation in this program.  For more information, please visit ift.org/certification or email ifscc@ift.org

National Environmental Health Association (NEHA)
The National Environmental Health Association has approved the education program at the SQF International Conference for 16 contact hours of continuing education credit. The approved courses have an expiration date of one year from the date the course is offered. Attendance must be verified by a member of the FMI/SQFI staff by signing the Continuing Education Attendance Form, which can be downloaded here. The form serves as proof of attendance and should be retained for your records. In the event you are audited by NEHA, you will need to provide a copy of this form as proof of participation.

For individuals to receive Continuing Education credit with NEHA, members would log into their MyNEHA account on the neha.org website, and enter their hours using the “Report CE Credits” link under the “My Credentials and CEs” tab. Those that do not hold a NEHA credential would need to submit the CE Attendance Form with all of the requested information completed and the appropriate processing and maintenance fee.

Program Schedule

Download the onsite guide

SQF Town Hall: 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.

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.

Keynotes and General Sessions

Getting to Great Performance

The Water Coolers

For over 15 years, THE WATER COOLERS have entertained audiences around the world with their high energy, uncommonly funny,  authentic take on work and life. In this laugh-out-loud keynote, this award-winning group of entertainers use their unique mix of music and comedy combined with real-world practical tips to deliver a unique and authentic perspective about achieving and maintaining peak performance in today’s world. The high-energy, hilarious, relatable content offers easy-to-apply tips on facing the fear that blocks innovation, engaging in trust-based collaboration and gaining focus in a time of unparalleled distraction.


Embrace the Shake: Transforming Limitations into Opportunities (Two-Part Session)

Phil Hansen, Inspirational Multimedia Artist

The term “Embrace the Shake” is coined from Artist Phil Hansen’s personal story of transformation. After developing a career-ending tremor in his drawing hand, Phil embraced his “shake” both physically and metaphorically by redefining his limitation as an impetus for creativity. Phil not only restored his artistic abilities, he became a much more creative and innovative artist than ever before. Phil’s powerful message of finding creativity within limitations will inspire you to stop looking on the outside, and start looking inside yourself for resources that can transform your challenges into opportunities for success.

Team Collaboration Project with Phil Hansen PLUS "The BIG REVEAL"

“Embrace the shake” isn’t just a talk, it’s an experience! Through jaw-dropping visuals and LIVE interactive art, get ready to break preconceived assumptions, activate your creative capacity, and bring fresh ways of viewing the task at hand that will culminate with success.


Foreign Supplier Verification Program and Beyond: An FDA Update for SQF Stakeholders

Sharon L. Mayl, J.D., Senior Advisor for Policy, Office of Foods and Veterinary Medicine, Food and Drug Administration (FDA

Join Sharon L. Mayl, J.D., Senior Advisor for Policy, Office of Foods and Veterinary Medicine at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for an informative discussion and update on the Foreign Supplier Verification Program, Accredited Third-Party Certification Program and Voluntary Qualified Importer Program. Get a bird’s eye view of how GFSI programs fit into FDA’s programs, learn how FDA regulations apply to SQF certified companies, and get an update on FDA’s enforcement efforts to date. Participants will also have an opportunity to pose questions to our guest speaker.


Real Cases, Real Stories: Why Food Safety Matters

Dr. Darin Detwiler, Assistant Dean and Professor, Northeastern University - College of Professional Studies
Bill Marler, Food Safety Attorney, Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm

More than 48 million people are stricken annually by foodborne illness. Of those, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die. Unless you have personally experienced the suffering and loss associated with foodborne illness, you might not fully grasp just how critical your role as a food safety professional really is. In this compelling session, you’ll hear real cases of foodborne illness that will remind you of the consequences of making a bad food safety decision. You’ll take home important information to incorporate into your training. And you’ll leave with a clearer understanding of the difference you make in keeping food safe to eat and the vital role you play in preventing human suffering and saving lives.

Shaping the Future of Food Safety…Together

LeAnn Chuboff, Vice President, Technical Affairs, Safe Quality Food Institute

As an SQF stakeholder, whether an auditor, trainer, practitioner, retailer or other food safety professional, you play a vital role in keeping the food supply chain safe. For its part, SQF works tirelessly to deliver globally recognized and consistent food safety and quality programs to meet the needs of its stakeholders. Together we can all shape the future of food safety by engaging in dialogue to identify our individual challenges, find common ground and implement  common sense solutions. In this not-to-be-missed, interactive discussion, SQFI will reveal the results of the 2018 Stakeholder Survey and ask participants to vote on the issues that they would most like SQFI to focus on in 2019 and beyond. This is your chance to help shape future editions of the SQF Code. Take the survey here (you do not have to attend the conference in order to participate and you may win a complimentary registration!)

SQFI 2019 and Beyond: Shaping The Future of Food Safety Together (Part II)

LeAnn Chuboff, Vice President, Technical Affairs, Safe Quality Food Institute
Kristie Gryzwinski, Senior Technical Manager, Safe Quality Food Institute
Chris Sinclair, Manager, SQF Compliance, Safe Quality Food Institute
Sarah Malenich, Director, Sales and Marketing, Safe Quality Food Institute

You speak, we listen. This is YOUR opportunity to choose the focus of the conversation as SQFI team members reveal what’s in store for The SQF Program in 2019 and beyond.  We’ll give you the opportunity to vote live on which  topics you want us to cover and open up the floor to your questions. We’ll also showcase the brand new www.SQFI.com website that was recently redesigned based on stakeholder feedback. And there may be a few surprises in store too!

Shaping The Future of Food Safety - One Robot at a Time

David Hardiman-Evans – Senior Vice President, North America, Ocado Group Plc.

It’s clear that the rise of e-commerce is changing the food retail landscape. Advances in technology and automation and consumer expectations of speed are also impacting how online orders are fulfilled and delivered. In the U.K. (and now coming to the U.S.) retail giant, Ocado Group Plc, the world’s largest pure-play online grocery retailer, has invested in technology and automation that allows them to put together a 50-item order in a matter of minutes. But how does this need for speed impact food safety and quality in an e-commerce environment ? In this fascinating session, you hear directly from Ocado how their proprietary technology and automation capabilities can process hundreds of thousands of orders every week while preserving the safety and integrity of the cold chain through distribution, whether the products are sourced from small or large suppliers. See the future of food retail NOW.

Learning Labs

Breakout of Boredom! Using Escape Room & Other Interactive Techniques to Revitalize Your Training Programs

Topic Tag: Food Safety Training

Clark Barthel, Quality Engineer, D&W Fine Pack

The boom in so-called “Escape Rooms” popping up all over the country in the past few years demonstrates the popularity of experiential entertainment. But entertainment aside, how can these adventure games that require participants to solve clues and puzzles together in teams be used in a food safety training environment to challenge and engage participants? In this fascinating session you’ll learn how to develop your own dynamic and engaging training sessions that implement escape room elements and other interactive scenarios. You’ll leave with a toolbox of methods and approaches for creating sessions that emphasize SQF fundamentals in your specific manufacturing or service environment, satisfy the training needs of adult learners and challenge, reward and engage the participants.

Safe, Quality…Operations? Flipping the Traditional Business Model to Implement and Maintain SQF Systems

Betty Murie, Quality Assurance and Compliance Manager, Wedderspoon Organic NZ Ltd

Topic Tags: SQF Quality Code, Management Commitment

Quality must be at the heart of all operation decisions and a quality-driven approach ensures the concept of "right first time." Top-down commitment to quality and food safety engenders business transparency, efficient operations and bottom line growth. Hear how the first, and currently the only SQF level 3 honey facility in New Zealand flipped its business model to quality driven operations to add value to its business, ensure compliance, and build consumer trust and loyalty.

Salmonella, Listeria, and E. Coli, Oh My! Performing a Gap Analysis of your Environmental Monitoring Program

Gary Smith, President, Food Safety & Quality Professionals
Laura Nelson, VP of Food Safety & Global Alliances, Alchemy Systems

Topic Tag: EMP

Food-borne pathogens are one of the food industry’s biggest criminals, impacting more than 48 million Americans each year. Developing and maintaining a robust environmental monitoring program that identifies environmental risks is an on-going, but critical practice for your organization.  In reality, many organizations are missing critical EM program protocols as technology and best practices evolve.   Join microbiological experts and EM Technical Working Group members, Gary Smith and Laura Nelson, as they help you access your Environmental Monitoring Program and share and share the latest best practices to reduce risks and liabilities associated with food-borne pathogens.

A Crisis Hits -  Are You Ready?

Kristin Brown, Senior Vice President, Racepoint Global
Norman Alayan, Technical Manager, Bureau Veritas Certification North America, Inc.

Topic Tag: Crisis Management

A major food safety outbreak has occurred. Your product has been recalled. Do you know what to do next to mitigate the situation? Participate in an interactive “war room” to learn the dos and don’ts of preparing for and handling a crisis situation. Facilitated by an expert in crisis communications and public relations, the workshop will walk you through the key immediate actions – what to do in hour one, who to notify internally and externally and what their roles are – as well as the aftermath in the weeks and months ahead. You’ll leave with a better understanding of what could happen in a crisis, understand what it takes to deal with one and who the key audiences are. You’ll also be equipped with a checklist from both an operations and communications perspective, of essential crisis management actions.

Tools for Plants - Organizing Your Programs for an Efficient SQF Audit

David Melton, Corporate Quality Assurance Manager, Daisy Brand

Topic Tags: SQF Food Safety Code, SQF Quality Code

Do you fumble through SOPs to find each individual procedure during your audit?  Have you ever thought you could be more organized but feel that you just lack the time?  In this session you’ll discuss obstacles that both small and large plants face. You'll also learn about common organizational practices that can help you prepare for your SQF audit, manage it more efficiently and showcase your plant in the best possible light.  Additionally, you'll take home a template for organizing your SOPs electronically by section of the Code.

Decoding the Mystery of Risk Assessment

Joy Dziech, Senior Quality Systems Manager, North America, Kerry

Topic Tags: Risk Assessment, SQF Food Safety Code, SQF Quality Code

There’s a potential food safety hazard and the quality team jumps into action to perform a risk assessment to determine the impact, while other functions look on in confusion over this mysterious process. In what way do you explain the why, what, and how and more importantly how do you get their valuable input and participation? This informative session will focus on the Risk ARR method – Assessment, Response, Resolution as a means of addressing issues in a manufacturing environment. We will discuss where to use it and how to get started. Learn how to teach the method, incorporate it in to your SQF system and discover how its application can enhance food safety culture within your plant.

Food Safety Culture 2.0: Strategies and Tools to Help You Measure What You Treasure

Moderator: John David, 3M


Lone Jespersen, PhD, Founder, Principal, Cultivate Food Safety
Melanie Neumann, President and Global Food Safety Attorney, Neumann Risk Services, LLC a Matrix Sciences Company
Lily Chiem, Sr. Director – Quality Systems, Kagome USA
Peter Begg, VP Food Safety and Quality, Glanbia Nutritionals

Topic Tag: Food Safety Culture, Management  Commitment

Evolving and dynamic changes continue to challenge the food industry and its ability to sustain and grow strong food safety cultures.  Social, economic and environmental factors, coupled with changing science are just a few of the many realities companies are facing on their journeys to enhance their food safety cultures.    Leading experts on food safety culture return to the 2018 SQF Conference to discuss cutting edge impacts and innovative tools to address today's challenges relating to this important topic. Learn how leveraging enterprise risk management (ERM) maturity models and strategies with food safety culture models with technology and metrics can help companies leap over hurdles caused by issues such as zero based budgeting, mergers & acquisitions, use of WGS, and more.

Alphabet Soup: Digesting FSVP, VQIP, FSMA and SQF to Ensure the Safety of Imported Goods

Carey Allen, Associate Managing Director, NSF International
Frank Schreurs, Regional Representative, Canada &N.W. USA, Safe Quality Food InstituteZ
Christine Summers, Director, Food Safety and Quality Assurance, Costco Wholesale Corporation
Chris Kelly, American National Standards Institute
Lilia Santiago, North America Food Safety Director, The Kellogg Company


Topic Tag: Regulatory

Does talk of FSVP, FSMA, VQIP and SQF make your head spin?  How do you make sense of all these confusing acronyms? If you import ingredients from foreign suppliers, this illuminating session will help you sort through the often bewildering requirements of the FSMA-mandated Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP) and explain the benefits of participation in the Voluntary Qualified Importer Program (VQIP). Learn how to apply for VQIP, how it changes your FSVP and what you need to know to make sure you have no gaps in your risk assessment and preventative controls. You’ll leave with a better understanding of the additional assurance and advantages of VQIP participation and how FSVP and VQIP impacts foreign suppliers.

Bridging the Gap between Maintenance and Sanitation

Jay Wright, VP Sales, SOMAX, Inc.

Topic Tag: SQF Food Safety Code

In many food processing plants, maintenance and sanitation departments still work independently with little communication and collaboration, leaving a huge gap in a food safety program. Take a deeper dive into common challenges that plants face and practical solutions to better integrate maintenance and sanitation departments into your food safety program. Discuss best practices for standardizing and centrally maintaining SOP`s and SSOP`s across the enterprise and coordinating PM Schedules and the Master Sanitation Schedule. Discover how leveraging IoT (Internet of Things) technology can facilitate better communication and documentation and learn how to analyze data to create actionable insights.

Earned Your SQF Certification?  Now Leverage It!

Stephanie Styons, Senior Vice President, Racepoint Global
Sarah Malenich, Director of Sales & Marketing, Safe Quality Food Institute
Michael Roberson, Director of Corporate Quality Assurance, Publix Super Markets, Inc.

Neil Ylanan, Director of Food Safety & Quality, HelloFresh

Topic Tags: Marketing, SQF Food Safety Code, SQF Food Quality Code

Earning SQF Certification is quite an accomplishment, one that requires a great deal of time, effort and commitment. Leveraging it can build credibility, increase brand awareness and secure relationships with future partners and customers. Learn from suppliers who have successfully marketed their certification and see specific examples of successful marketing campaigns. Hear from marketing experts who will discuss the different options for promoting your SQF certification, how to market to key audiences and the resulting benefits. You’ll also get advice on effectively communicating changes to the SQF Code levels that came with Edition 8.

Top SQF Non-Conformances and How to Avoid Them

Gary Smith, President, Food Safety & Quality Professionals

Topic Tags: SQF Food Safety Code, SQF Food Quality Code

A perennial favorite! Discover the top 10 non-conformances during SQF audits over the past year, discuss why they happen and how they can be avoided. Get expert recommendations and solutions for avoiding non-conformances and tips on how to strengthen your internal audit program to improve verification of the SQF system.

Prevention or a Recall – What’s Your Preference?

Roger Roeth, Executive Technical Officer, Eagle Certification Group
Anne Cooper, Food Technical Manager, Eagle Certification Group

Topic Tag: Allergens

Allergens continue to be the number one reason for recalls in the food industry.  Many allergen programs are weak and don’t address all of the potential concerns in allergen management and control.  Using case studies from companies that have experienced a recall due to allergen mishandling or mislabeling, we’ll take a deep dive into the root causes and lessons learned in each incident. Discuss potential concerns, examine common failures and take home actionable advice on verification methods that will help you strengthen your allergen programs to prevent a recall from occurring in your plant.

Compressed Air Testing: Is it Necessary and How do I Comply with Edition 8?

James Scherer, Director of Sales, TRI Air Testing 

Topic Tag: SQF Food Safety Code

Do you know what at what levels the gases in compressed air become hazardous and what causes them to become dangerous? Are you familiar with SQF Code requirements regarding compressed air testing, moisture, oil mist and mold and bacteria sampling and testing? Learn what you need to know to comply with sections 11.5, 12.5 and 13.5 of Edition 8 concerning compressed air testing. Hear how and when to test and how to interpret the results. Get advice on creating the documentation needed for a solid monitoring report so you won't be surprised when your facility is audited.     

When it Doesn’t Smell, Look or Feel Right: Food Fraud Detection, Monitoring and Mitigation in The Raw Material Supply Chain

Claire Winkel, Executive Manager - Technical Solutions, Integrity Solutions

Topic Tag: Food Fraud

Detecting and preventing food fraud matters. In this real life case study that follows turmeric through the supply chain, from importer to blender to food manufacturer, you’ll be reminded how even seemingly innocuous fraudulent substitution of products like rice starch or tapioca can have devastating food safety consequences.  The case study will review the results of the actual monitoring and control measures that were implemented, such as trained taste panels, as well as the resulting corrective actions. You’ll discuss what the potential implications of food fraud could have been for the final food processor and takeaway actionable ideas on how to detect, monitor and mitigate food fraud in your own plants.

SQF Quality Code Certification: Best Practices and Better Profits!

Frank Schreurs, Regional Representative, Canada & NW U.S.A, Safe Quality Food Institute  
Jeff Chilton, VP of Professional Services, Alchemy Systems

Topic Tag: SQF Food Quality Code

One major modification that SQFI made to the SQF Code in Edition 8 was its approach to food quality certification. The SQF Quality Code allows companies to implement a comprehensive Food Quality Plan, with identified controls, that can lead to a reduction in complaints and improved product consistency. This session will examine the economic benefits of achieving food quality certification and present strategies for effective implementation and sustainment. You’ll also gain insight into SQF Quality Code guidance updates based on 2018 completed certifications and feedback.

Managing Compliance Doesn't Have to be Like Herding Cats: How Having the Right Technology Makes All the Difference in Food Safety

Derek Hannum, SVP, Customer Success, ReposiTrak - Park City Group
Jackie Caplan Wiggins, Vice President and COO, Frieda's
Chris Gindorff – Senior Manager, Quality Assurance and Food Safety, Lunds & Byerlys

Topic Tags: Compliance, Technology

How does the food safety supply chain of the past compare and contrast with the food safety supply chain of tomorrow, and how can technology be leveraged to further reduce risk? Hear from a supplier as they share their experiences with collecting and managing records for risk management, FSMA compliance and supply chain vendor management and gain insight from a retailer on how adopting the right technology can help manage product discovery and compliance through proactive automated records management. Participants will hear real-life case studies and have the opportunity to pose questions to the panelists.

Delivering Trust by The Truckload

Cathy Crawford, President, HACCP Consulting Group
Kelly Vest, Science Director / Senior Epidemiologist, Center for Global Health Engagement, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences

Ted Prince, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Tiger Cool Express LLC

Topic Tag: SQF Food Safety Code, FSMA

Move it, then prove it. Do you know what documents are essential to demonstrate compliance with Sanitary Transport Regulations and the related SQF Code requirements? Get practical ideas to ensure that requirements are met and promote trust in your brand and products. Learn how driver/employee education can positively impact compliance. Hear from an industry insider as they share real-life challenges and practical advice on delivering safe, quality food.

Straight From The Frontlines: Combatting Contamination with Sound Sanitary Equipment Design

Alex Brandt, Ph.D., Chief Science Officer, Food Safety Net Services  

Topic Tag: SQF Food Safety Code          

Using real life case studies, this interactive session will guide participants to develop management solutions to combat microbial contamination through sound sanitary equipment design. You’ll also discuss the principles of sanitary design for facilities and equipment and address the new requirements outlined in section 11.2.9 in Edition 8 of the SQF Code.

Unpacking the Facts: Tackling Food Safety Challenges in the Food Packaging Industry

Roger Roeth, Executive Technical Officer, Eagle Certification Group          

Topic Tag:  Food Packaging

Food safety standards and customer requirements in the food packaging industry can often be unclear both for packaging suppliers and their food manufacturer customers. This session will seek to clarify the different risks associated with food packaging manufacturing versus food manufacturing facilities and offer guidance on how to manage them. You’ll review several of the SQF Code requirements such as food fraud and environmental monitoring and how they apply to food packaging manufacturing operations. You'll also discuss supplier expectations and how you can boost your company’s food safety reputation. Food manufacturers will also benefit from this session by learning about the hazards that their packaging suppliers face, enabling them to develop a stronger approved supplier program.

One Up, One Back: Perspectives on Food Traceability Programs, Past, Present and Future

Darin Detwiler, LP.D., Assistant Dean: Graduate Academic and Faculty Affairs, Northeastern University

Andy Kennedy, Interim Director, Global Food Traceability Center
Kathleen Wybourn, Director Food & Beverage, USA & Canada, DNV GL - Business Assurance
Jennifer McEntire, VP Food Safety & Technology, United Fresh Produce Association

Recent highly publicized food recalls and foodborne illness outbreaks continue to underscore the impact of a lack of traceability within the broad food industry. The SQF Code addresses this issue by mandating a “one up” and “one back” product trace system that is reviewed for its effectiveness on an annual basis. Join a panel of traceability experts as they  discuss the current state of traceability in the food industry, share their perspectives for its future and  provide simple, practical and solution-based strategies to help SQF suppliers improve food traceability programs and meet the SQF Code requirements. Take home actionable ideas to help you develop programs that go beyond regulatory standards to make the global food supply safer.

Are We There Yet? Making the Case (or not) for Recalibration

Bill McBride, Asia Pacific Representative, Safe Quality Food Institute

From its humble beginnings three decades ago, Food Safety Certification has grown into a major industry.  And it’s seen some hits and misses along the way. So, where do we go from here? In order to move forward, we need to take stock of where we’ve been and assess our successes and failures. Join an industry veteran to peer back into the history of food safety certification up to and including the SQF Code and GFSI, and examine the achievements, innovations and challenges within the industry. We’ll discuss what we have achieved and what we’ve overlooked and help assess whether recalibration is necessary and if so, how to go forward.

Environmental Monitoring for Listeria, Effectively

Topic Tags:  EMP, Data Trending

Carol Jones, PhD, Food Safety Technical Service, AFCO/ZEP

Every food processing facility has an Environmental Monitoring program as required by FSMA and SQF.  A plan is designed, specific places are swabbed and sponged and analyzed, and results are documented.  Each program has the same components and steps.  However, people still get sick and sometimes pass away from eating contaminated food.  How does this happen when all plants are testing for Listeria?  There is a critical difference between having an Environmental Monitoring program and having one that is effective.  Learn how to create an effective Environmental Monitoring program that allows for faster detection of Listeria, finding the niche, and its removal, providing assurance that safe food is being produced and placed in the market, and allowing management to sleep at night.

The Story of My Life (and Yours)

Moderator: Cara Kneer – Host of "Atlanta & Company," WXIA-TV and freelance reporter for CNN


Jorge Hernandez , Chief Food Safety Officer, Wholesome International
Dyane Burke, Senior Director of Food Safety and Regulatory Affairs, ConAgra Foods, Inc.

As food safety professionals, we all share common challenges and experiences; we understand each other and the language we speak. Join us for a revealing and insightful look into the daily lives of food safety professionals. Moderated by an expert media personality, veteran food safety professionals will share stories of life in the trenches. From how to better communicate with staff to improving work/life balance or getting management buy in, you’ll take home valuable insights from real life experiences and foster a sense of camaraderie with your fellow food safety warriors!

Best Practices for Ensuring Food Safety and Quality in E-Commerce

Tony Leo, CEO/President, Warehousing Group, RLS Logistics

By 2022, as many as 70 percent of consumers will be grocery shopping online according to a 2018 FMI/Nielsen study. While regulatory requirements and inspection processes for maintaining food safety and quality are the same for both brick and mortar and online food retailers, vulnerabilities along the e-commerce supply chain differ from that of the “traditional” supply chain. Gain insight from a cold storage expert into the intricacies of the e-commerce supply chain, and how to address the most common breaks and errors. Hear about real-life experiences in  implementing new and different packaging technologies that ensure the integrity and safety of the e-commerce supply chain in the food industry.



Cost and Registration

The courses 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. Please select the "Training Only" rate and then your class. PLEASE NOTE: The minimum size of the class is 12 and the maximum is 30. If less than 12 students are registered for a class four weeks prior to the start date, it is subject to cancellation. In the event of cancellation, students may elect to join another class or request a full refund. Courses generally sell out in advance of the event, so early registration is advised.

Please note that there is a $100 surcharge for registrants who are NOT attending the full conference. You MUST select the $100 rate first AND your class. If you do not select a class, your registration may be rejected and the $100 refunded to you. You can only register for ONE class and ONE person. You cannot select more than one registration per class i.e. you cannot save a place for a co-worker!

Classes Offered:


2018 Food Defense/Crisis Management/Emergency Preparedness Course

This two-day certificate course will help you protect your company’s assets, employees, products and brand and help you prevent, mitigate and respond to a disaster, emergency or terrorist or criminal threat. PLEASE NOTE: This course requires a separate registration process. Click here to register. It is not directly affiliated with the SQF Conference.

Course Overview

  • Food Defense Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow! What Would You Do?
  • Understanding the New Face of Crime and Terrorism
  • FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) I.A. Rule
  • Intentional Adulteration/Investigation and Inquiry
  • Employee Tampering/Sabotage of Products
  • The Age of Social Media: Brand Protection
  • Understanding the Pitfalls of Negligent Security
  • Developing Your Facility’s General Security Plans and Mitigation Strategies
  • Security Vulnerability/Risk Assessments
  • Emergency Evacuations & Preparedness
  • Supply Chain, Cargo & Transportation Security
  • Crisis Management
  • Workplace Violence
  • Active Shooter Preparedness

Dates: October 21-22, 2018 8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Course Instructor: Rod Wheeler, Founder and CEO, The Global Food Defense Institute, Law Enforcement Crime Analyst Washington, DC

Course Fee: $850 Fee includes all materials and continental breakfast both days.

Register at: www.myfooddefense.com/

For more information, contact info@myfooddefense.com |  (202) 368-3007

2019 SQF Professional Update

Course Description:

The SQF Professional Update is a requirement for SQF Professionals (auditors, consultants, and trainers) seeking annual re-registration with the SQF Program. In this year’s update, a member of SQFI’s Technical Team will share recent brief updates to the SQF program including the SQF Code, edition 8, current results from the Compliance and Integrity Programs, enhancements to the SQF assessment database, a GFSI benchmarking status report for key modules, the status of key SQF documents, and a peek at new training and upcoming events. Participants will gain a deeper understanding of SQFI expectations for registered SQF Professionals and ways to enhance the assessment, implementation, and maintenance of an SQF System.


None, however, familiarity with the SQF Program is helpful.

Course Objectives:

  • Restate the upcoming goals for the SQF Program.
  • Share the status and availability of key SQF documents.
  • List upcoming SQFI trainings and events and where to register.
  • Describe the outcomes of the SQF certification audit performance survey.
  • Summarize the status of GFSI requirements document and SQF benchmarking

Course  Instructor: LeAnn Chuboff, Vice President, Technical Affairs, SQFI

Date: Monday, October 22, 2018

Time: 8:00 am-1:00 pm

Cost: $200.00 pre-registration/ $300.00 onsite

Advanced SQF Practitioner SOLD OUT

Course Description:

The Advanced SQF Practitioner course is an activity-based course designed for the current SQF practitioner who is seeking further education on how to improve and maintain their company’s SQF System. The Advanced SQF Practitioner course provides the tools needed to improve and advance the food safety system in the facility and manage the ongoing maintenance of the SQF Program.


To ensure an optimal learning experience and fully benefit from this course, it is recommended that participants meet the following pre-requisites prior to attending the course:

  1. Been through at least one successful (C-complies rating or higher) SQF certification/ recertification process as the designated SQF practitioner
  2. Successfully completed a HACCP training class that includes a final assessment
  3. Successfully completed the Implementing SQF Systems examination

Course Objectives:

The two-day course addresses the following four areas:

  1. Establishing food safety and quality objectives.
  2. Using the internal audit program to manage, maintain and enhance the SQF System.
  3. Utilizing the corrective action/preventive action process as a tool to identify trends and build continuous improvement.
  4. Improving the demonstration of management’s commitment and developing and prioritizing key performance indicators.

Course  Instructors:

Tatiana Lorca, Senior Manager, Food Safety Education and Training, Ecolab
Matthew Poore, Matthew Poore Leadership Group

DatesSunday, October 21 and Monday, October 22, 2018

Time: 8:00 am-5:00 pm

Cost:  $675.00 pre-registration / $775.00 onsite

Environmental Monitoring for Manufacturing Plants - LIMITED SPACES AVAILABLE

Course Description:

An environmental monitoring program allows for proper identification, management and verification of manufacturing and environmental controls, including microbiological hazards and allergens. This course addresses the design of a robust environmental monitoring program including; mapping and sampling, differences between wet vs. dry facilities, GFSI recognized allergen validation criteria, selection for Listeria and Salmonella, as well as EMP corrective action management—fostering continuous improvement.

Pre-requisites: None

Course Objectives:

  • Validation of microbiological hazards and allergens
  • Sampling techniques including location, frequency, target organisms, and data management
  • Maintenance and management of an effective environmental monitoring program

Instructor: Douglas Marshall, Chief Scientific Officer, Eurofins Certification

Dates: Monday, October 22, 2018

Time: 8:00 am-5:00 pm

Cost: $375.00 pre-registration / $475.00 onsite

Food Labeling Investigation: How to Accurately Develop and Manage Your Labels - CANCELLED

Course Description:

Accurate labeling and management is a key component of a successful food program. Failure to accurately follow Federal food labeling regulations can result in negative consequences such as product recalls, product detention, costly product reformulations and artwork updates, etc. This workshop is designed to provide participants with the necessary knowledge and skills to reduce the risk of product recalls and negative implications due to mislabeling.

Pre-requisites: None

Course Objectives:

  • Examine how to prevent a food recall due to mislabeling and undeclared allergens
  • Gain the knowledge and tools to identify and avoid potential mislabeling risks and issues (i.e. lawsuits, product detention & seizure, competitor callouts, damage to brand image, costly product reformulations and packaging reworks, etc.)
  • Understand the FDA, USDA and regulatory requirements concerning food labeling
  • Address food safety and quality implications and their effect upon finished product specifications

Instructor: Ami Akins, Merieux NutriSciences and Dodi Kingsfield, Merieux NutriSciences

Date: Monday, October 22, 2018

Time: 8:00 am-5:00 pm

Cost: $375.00 pre-registration / $475.00 onsite

Overcoming the Top 5 Challenges in HACCP Plan Development for Packaging: Improving your HACCP Plan

Course Description:

Does your product description include all necessary processing aids and raw materials? Have all steps in your process flow been broken down and included to ensure all potential hazards have been addressed? If a hazard is fully controlled by something in your pre‐operational program, what is your proof?

These are some of the questions to ask when developing and evaluating your HACCP plan.

Learn about the top five challenges in HACCP plan development faced by packaging manufacturers and how you can overcome them in this one‐day program. With a focus on hazard identification, risk assessment, development of your process flow diagram and addressing the potential for CCPs, you will gain the technical knowledge and skills to improve your HACCP plan and avoid common audit non-conformances.

Utilizing group activities and exercises, this training program will benefit long term HACCP programs by providing a fresh look at documenting HACCP, as well as, assisting companies new to HACCP to avoid mistakes as they implement their program

Pre-requisites: None

Course Objectives:

At the end of the program, you will be able to:

  • Assess your product descriptions for key information often overlooked i.e. processing aids and raw materials.
  • Construct and verify a process flow diagram.
  • Identify hazards, including potential cross contamination points, and assess risk.
  • Discuss documentation required to demonstrate that a hazard is fully controlled by a preoperational program.
  • Assess your HACCP plan for any improvements required, i.e., does your CCP Plan clearly define monitoring schedule, deviation controls and criteria to reject product.

Instructor: Karen Leacock-Bingham, Sr. Project Manager-Food Safety & Quality Services, NSF International

Date: Monday, October 22, 2018

Time: 8:00 am-5:00 pm

Cost: $375.00 pre-registration / $475.00 onsite

Strategies for Food Fraud Prevention SOLD OUT

Course Description:

The term food fraud has been a topic of tall interest recently. This has been largely brought into focus by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) which has released their new benchmarking requirements document emphasizing the importance of having a finely honed food fraud mitigation plan. With this new focus, all GFSI benchmarked Certified Program Owners have added food fraud vulnerability assessments and mitigation plans into their certification standards.

Diving deeper into the meaning of food fraud, experts define it as deliberate and intentional substitution, addition, misrepresentation of food, or misleading statements made about a product for economic gain that could impact consumer health.

There are two parts to controlling food fraud in any food safety management systems which are 1.) vulnerability assessment and 2.) the mitigation plan. The vulnerability assessment identifies potential risk from your ingredients that could infiltrate your systems. The mitigation plan then puts out a plan to regulate the risk and reduce it. 

Pre-requisites: None

Course Objectives: 

  • Understand the various categories of food fraud.
  • Assess your supply chain to identify potential threats.
  • Evaluate internal procedures to recognize where threats could occur.
  • Develop a plan to mitigate supply chain and internal threats.
  • Reexamine plans to anticipate new threats and identify gaps.

Instructor: Gary Smith, President, Food Safety and Quality Professionals

Date: Monday, October 22, 2018

Time: 8:00 am-5:00 pm

Cost: $375.00 pre-registration / $475.00 onsite

Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP) Training CANCELLED

Course Description:

The Foreign Supplier Verification (FSVP) Training was developed by the Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance (FSPCA). This course is designed to help you understand and comply with the FSVP rule and was developed by experts from industry, academia and regulatory, with consultation from FDA.  The course will provide participants with an understanding of the requirements of the FSMA FSVP rule for importers of food for humans and animals.

Instructor: Hilary Thesmar, Ashley Eisenbeiser, Food Marketing Institute

Date: Sunday, October 21 and Monday, October 22, 2018

Time: Sunday 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. | Monday 8:00 a.m.- 1:00 p.m.

Cost: $675 pre-registration / $775 onsite

Implementing the SQF Quality Code - LIMITED SPACES AVAILABLE

Course Description:

In 2018 SQFI introduced the SQF Quality Code as part of the edition 8 suite of SQF standards.  The SQF Quality Code builds on what was ‘level 3’ in the SQF Code, edition 7.2, and incorporates the quality management principles necessary to achieve customer requirements and continuously improve quality and productivity.

This one-day course assists sites to understand the quality philosophy behind the SQF Quality Code, to identify the differences between “level 3’ and the SQF Quality Code, and to apply the techniques addressed in the SQF Quality Code.


Candidates must have successfully completed examinable HACCP training. It is strongly recommended candidates have completed either “Implementing SQF Systems” training or “Auditing SQF Systems”/”Lead SQF Auditor” training.

Course Objectives:

This course will help you to:

  • Explain the differences between edition 7.2, level 3, and the SQF Quality Code;
  • Explain the product quality parameters within your food industry sector or site;
  • Apply the HACCP method to monitor and control quality parameters;
  • Apply the PDCA cycle to improve quality outcomes;
  • Utilise statistical process control techniques to improve product quality and productivity

Instructor: Bill McBride, SQFI Regional Representative Australia/Asia

Date: Monday, October 22, 2018

Time: 8:00 am-5:00 pm

Cost: $375.00 pre-registration / $475.00 onsite

Implementing the SQF Fundamentals Code - CANCELLED

Course Description:

A perfect first step in understanding the SQF Fundamentals Code and the steps to SQF certification. This comprehensive course is ideal for those small and medium enterprises interested in creating a culture of food safety and implementing an effective written food safety plan and good industry practices system. Learn how to develop, implement, and maintain programs that meet the SQF Fundamentals Code requirements and what it takes to eventually fully implement a food safety management system that is benchmarked by GFSI.

Pre-requisites: None

Course Objectives:

At the end of the program, you will be able to:

  • Build a culture of food safety in your business
  • Execute key actions to prepare for SQF certification
  • Describe the steps to necessary to achieve SQF certification
  • Identify and implement measures to address food safety risks to the product

Instructor: TBD

Date: Monday, October 22, 2018

Time: 8:00 am-5:00 pm

Cost: $375.00 pre-registration / $475.00 onsite

Speaker Resources

Committee Charter