The schedule below reflects Eastern Standard Time.

COMING TOGETHER FOR FOOD SAFETY

As the premier food safety event, SQF Unites gathers a dynamic community of food producers, retailers, leaders, and service innovators across a wide range of food safety operations and job functions, including compliance, quality, training, regulatory, audit and technical areas.

Education Sessions
General Session/Keynote
Knowledge Swaps
Social & Networking

Monday, October 25, 2021

12:00 PM 2:00 PM
Welcome to SQF UNITES 2021 

Drop in to pick up your virtual badge, familiarize yourself with the platform and get ready to participate in SQF Unites 2021. You’ll be able to:

  1. Participate in a short tutorial to learn how to navigate the platform
  2. Update your profile
  3. Gain access to pre-recorded On Demand presentations
  4. Start scheduling appointments with other attendees
  5. Review the sessions you want to participate in and create your own personalized schedule
  6. Get platform support from our technical support team

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

8:00 AM 6:00 PM
Scheduled Community Connections

Schedule one-on-one or group video meetings with other attendees.

9:15 AM 9:30 AM
Morning Highlights

Join our conference host for a useful guide to choosing which sessions to watch, which discussions to participate in and which events to attend.

9:30 AM 10:00 AM
Let’s Get It Started!

Join your peers for an informal ice breaker to kick off this year’s SQF Unites. While we’ll miss meeting in person, these 10-minute ice breaker sessions will give you the opportunity to get to know new people in a virtual setting and perhaps run into some old friends. You’ll be randomly paired with six fellow participants for up to two short meet-n-greet sessions designed around a fun discussion topic.

10:00 AM 5:00 PM
Ask the Experts Lounge

Drop into the Ask the Experts Lounge to join scheduled Q&A sessions with speakers and other industry experts.

10:05 AM 11:15 AM
Opening Keynote

The Hero Effect – Being Your Best When It Matters Most


Kevin Brown, Motivational Speaker and Author

In a year like no other, everyday heroes in the food industry rose to the occasion, demonstrating their commitment to maintaining the integrity of the food supply chain under challenging and unpredictable circumstances.  In this entertaining and inspiring keynote, you’ll hear how “The Hero Effect,” a powerful philosophy for life, can help you reach beyond what is required and do something remarkable. Learn how to own the moments that matter, achieve greater results by eliminating “ordinary” thinking and master the habit of excellence. Discover how to create meaningful relationships and deliver extraordinary experiences for others both at home and at work.

11:30 AM 12:15 PM
Education Sessions with Live Q&A

Join industry experts for a live presentation followed by Q&A. Then gather with a group of up to six of your peers to continue the conversation on each topic. You’ll be randomly assigned to your group, so this is a great opportunity to meet new people!

Training Beyond the Classroom

Kristie Grzywinski, Technical Director, SQF Institute
Laura Nelson, Vice President Food Safety and Global Alliances, Intertek Alchemy
Kassandra Woods, , Corporate Training Coordinator, BHJ USA LLC
Chris Jones, Senior Learning Systems Analyst, Conagra Brands

Your training program has a big impact on how employees learn; ultimately, better training leads to better engagement which leads to a better culture. Happy, engaged employees have lower absenteeism, fewer safety incidents and quality defects, and most importantly, higher productivity, resulting in increased profitability. Learn how to challenge your learning program to create a culture where employees are inspired to learn by thinking and applying learned behaviors outside the classroom. Explore teaching strategies that reinforce optimal behaviors and encourage problem-solving, ownership and trust. Learn how to verify and document these unique learning events and confirm competency.

Protecting Your Customers and Brand: Actionable Steps to Prevent Undeclared Allergens Recalls

Dr. Joseph Baumert, Co-Director, Food Allergy Research and Resource Program, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Why do undeclared allergens continue to be the leading cause of food recalls? The answer isn’t elusive. Join food allergen expert Joe Baumert to take a deep dive into the root causes of allergen-related recalls and delve into the gaps in allergen management and labeling. Explore best practices for managing allergen labeling, product changeover and label reconciliation. Unearth the secrets of an effective allergen management and labeling program through real-life case studies and gain actionable insight on how to apply lessons learned from allergen mishaps to your operation.

12:30 PM 1:30 PM
Thought Leadership Series: Lunch Bites

Grab a bite to eat and join our sponsor partners to hear their thought leadership on a variety of timely topics.

Elevating Food Safety Through Digital Pest Management

Mitch Goldstein, Business Development Manager – Digital Pest Management, Bayer Crop Sciences

Digital pest management is a rapidly evolving and expanding area to watch in the food safety space. Discover how tools such as rodent monitoring sensors and systems can help better protect operations from pest infestations and the related risks of disease, product loss and recalls and they can help ensure that facilities are audit-ready and compliant with complex regulations such as FSMA.

Sustainability and Food Safety – Finding the Right Balance

Kris Middleton, Food Program Manager, Bureau Veritas

As consumers demand greater transparency about the health, environmental and ethical implications of the food they purchase, manufacturer sustainability efforts will become increasingly vital to brand growth. Get an overview of prominent sustainability initiatives within the food industry and their associated risks and learn how to become a more sustainable company without jeopardizing your food safety systems.

Food Packaging: Dos and Don’ts to Protect Your Brand and Consumers

Anne Cooper, Food Technical Manager, EAGLE Certification Group
Joe Wieland, SQF Packaging Auditor, EAGLE Certification Group

See examples of packaging defects and learn which components of packaging to check to ensure the food safety of your product.  Discover how to manage packaging changeovers to ensure label accuracy and compliance with SQF Code Edition 9 requirements.

1:45 PM 2:30 PM
Education Sessions with Live Q&A

Join industry experts for a live presentation followed by Q&A. Then gather with a group of up to six of your peers to continue the conversation on each topic. You’ll be randomly assigned to your group, so this is a great opportunity to meet new people!

Ingredients for a Successful Supplier Approval Program to Protect Your Brand

Peter Begg, Vice President, Quality & Food Safety, Hearthside Food Solutions

Risk is inevitable in all businesses and at every level of the supply chain.  It’s how successfully we can identify and manage those risks, particularly during a time of crisis such as COVID, that can make or break a brand’s reputation. In this engaging session, you’ll learn why a robust supplier approval program has become more crucial than ever to protecting your brand and how to implement an effective one. Gain valuable insights on the most vital elements to incorporate, including business continuity and relationship building. Discover how to expedite the supplier approval process during a crisis to prevent supply chain disruption, discuss the importance of supplier specifications and requirements and learn when, who, what and how to audit.

Quest for a Healthy Food Safety Culture: Part 1- Expectations and Foundations

Anthony Camparone, Senior Technical Manager, Food Safety, SCS Global Services
Dejan Spasic, Director, Food Safety and Quality Services, dicentra Global Certifications
Yuksel Eyyuboglu, TUV Nord

Food Safety Culture moved from an inherent part of Management Commitment in Edition 8.1 to specific requirements in Edition 9. Hear from a variety of SQF Professionals as they provide perspective on the expectations outlined in the code, the tools needed to build a healthy food safety culture from its foundation and learnings from the related top non-conformances.

3:00 PM 4:30 PM
General Session

SQFI Town Hall & SQF Excellence Awards

LeAnn Chuboff, Vice President, Technical Affairs, SQFI
Kristie Grzywinski, Technical Director, SQFI
Bill McBride, Asia Pacific Representative, SQFI
Tammie van Buren, Compliance Manager, SQFI

You have questions, we have answers. Join us for an interactive Q&A session with the SQFI technical team. Submit your questions via the chat. We’ll also take some time during this session to recognize this year’s nominees for the SQF Excellence Awards and the winners of the FMI Foundation Food Safety Auditing Scholarships.

4:30 PM 5:30 PM
Community Networking Activities

Have some fun at the end of the day by joining friends, old and new, for a community activity such as trivia or an escape room.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

8:00 AM 6:00 PM
Scheduled Community Connections

Schedule one-on-one or group video meetings with other attendees.

9:15 AM 9:30 AM
Morning Highlights

Join our conference host for a useful guide to choosing which sessions to watch, which discussions to participate in and which events to attend.

9:30 AM 10:00 AM
Coffee Pop Ins

Grab your morning beverage of choice and join a 15-minute networking session before beginning your day. You’ll be randomly paired with up to six fellow participants, so this is a great opportunity to expand your network!

10:00 AM 10:30 AM
Thought Leadership Series: Breakfast Bites in the Coffee Corner

Grab your favorite morning beverage and join our sponsor partners to hear their thought leadership on a variety of timely topics.

Continued Improvement of Your SQF System for Sustained Success

Colin Christmas, Managing director, EAGLE Certification Group
Anne Cooper, Food Technical Manager, EAGLE Certification Group

Continued improvement is more than just determining the root cause of non-conformities and subsequent corrective actions. Discover how communication, management reviews, internal audits, managing resources and validation and verification activities can also contribute to improving the efficacy of your SQF system. Gain insight on how improvement works in a Plan Do Check Act (PDCA) Cycle and how senior site management can focus on delivering against customer and stakeholder expectations for sustained success.

10:00 AM 5:00 PM
Ask the Experts Lounge

Drop in to the Ask the Experts Lounge to join scheduled Q&A sessions with speakers and other industry experts.

10:45 AM 11:30 AM
Education Sessions with Live Q&A

Join industry experts for a live presentation followed by Q&A. Then gather with a group of up to six of your peers to continue the conversation on each topic. You’ll be randomly assigned to your group, so this is a great opportunity to meet new people!

Food Safety Insights 2022: A Peek into the Crystal Ball 

Shawn K. Stevens, Global Food Safety Lawyer, Food Industry Counsel LLC

The pandemic propelled us into a world of unknowns. Looking forward, how we can we prepare for what lies ahead in all aspects of food safety? Get an update on anticipated regulatory changes, how they may impact your facility and what you can do to stay on top of the numerous factors driving food safety. Gain insight into FDA’s current priorities and initiatives, including the New Era of Food Safety, explore emerging food safety issues and threats and take home the tools and information you need to futureproof your food safety plans 

Quest for a Healthy Food Safety Culture: Part 2- Industry Expert Perspectives

Brian Perry, Senior VP, Food Safety and Quality, Treehouse Foods, Inc.
Corey Chapman, Operations Improvement Manager – Ring Container Technologies
Polly Tartaro, Food Safety and Quality Program Manager, Killer Brownie

Join industry experts representing companies of all sizes in multiple food sector categories who have successfully walked the walk to a food safety culture that meets SQF Edition 9 requirements. Participants will learn best practices that they can apply at their organization and will have an opportunity to ask questions to assist them in overcoming any struggles they may have experienced in their quest for a robust food safety culture.

11:45 AM 12:45 PM
Thought Leadership Series: Lunch Bites

Grab a bite to eat and join our sponsor partners to hear their thought leadership on a variety of timely topics.

Food Allergens – Tackling an Ever-Evolving Challenge in Food Manufacturing

Tracie Sheehan, VP Technical Services, Mérieux NutriSciences

As the prevalence of food allergies continues to grow, food regulatory agencies have imposed new labeling rules including the FASTER ACT, declaring sesame as the 9th major allergen in the U.S. Get an overview of the most recent allergen data and trends in food recalls and hear about new allergen testing methodologies

How to Make Food Safety Smarter

Prasant Prusty, Founder and CEO, Smart Food Safe

There’s a smart way to do everything – why not food safety? Learn how technology innovation can improve food safety compliance, accelerate decision-making and take your food safety program to the next level.

Food Safety and Sustainability: Using the SQF Quality Code to Drive a Culture of Commitment

Frank Schreurs, Director of Strategic Accounts SCS Global Services

Gain insight into elements of the quality code that can be used to incorporate sustainability KPIs and simplify the system of monitoring and measurement and improving outcomes. Learn how sustainability is supported by a GFSI benchmarked certification.

1:00 PM 2:00 PM
Thought Leadership Series: Five by Five

This fast-paced session, brought to you by our sponsors,  will introduce you to a variety of industry topics in a 5 x 5 format (5 slides in 5 minutes)

5 Ways to Improve Your Audit Experience With Your Auditor and Certification Body

Frank Schreurs, Director of Strategic Accounts SCS Global Services

Transparency and independence are at the heart of a good audit, regardless of the results. Hear 5 tips to reach that goal that will also improve audit efficiency for both you and your CB/Auditor.

Protect Your Brand with Supplier Risk Management

Timothy Ryan, SGS North America

Properly managing your suppliers protects both your brand and reputation. Learn how to ensure that your supply chain partners consistently comply with your high standards of quality, safety, security, or environmental and social matters and actively support your values.

Proficiency Testing – What it is and Why You Need it

Jessie Presswood, Proficiency Testing Specialist, LGC AXIO Proficiency Testing

Get an overview of what proficiency testing is, the benefits it provides to your quality systems and how it relates to SQF certification requirements.

Food Labeling Compliance Solutions

Megan Murphy, Business Development Specialist, Eurofins Food Assurance

Learn how to ensure food labeling compliance in a world of ever-evolving regulations and highly complex global supply chains. Gain insight on bioengineered verification and labeling solutions as well as food labeling resources, training, and consultation options.

Leveraging Data to Predict and Mitigate Supply Chain Food Safety Risks

Gary Smith, Vice President, Food Safety, FoodChain ID

As food supply chains adjust to the post-COVID economic recovery, what does data reveal as the biggest ingredient threats over the past six months? Get a summary of supply chain food safety risk data from global incident reports for microbiological, pesticides, allergens, and other contaminants and how it can be used to predict future risks. Discover the value of using data-driven supply chain risk assessment for sourcing and quality assurance decisions.

Benefits of Automating the Audit Process

Shamonique Schrick, FSQA Solutions Architect, FSQA

Learn how to identify and implement technology solutions that will help streamline the audit preparation process while complying with regulatory requirements.

How to Protect Supply Chain Integrity Using Ingredient Standards

Dr. Tracie Sheehan, Vice President, Technical Services, Mérieux NutriSciences

Ensuring the overall reliability of the food supply system depends on the integration of multiple control strategies including information systems and leveraging global information on recalls and food fraud to implement best practices. Learn why ingredient standards play an essential role in protecting the integrity and safety of the food supply chain and how sites can use ingredient standards as part of their supply chain control program.

7 Questions to Ask Senior Management about Supporting the SQF Program

Joe Wieland, Food Packaging Auditor, EAGLE Certification Group
Anne Cooper, Food Technical Manager, EAGLE Certification Group

Many people are uneasy interviewing senior management about their support of the SQF program. Veteran EAGLE SQF Auditor Joe Wieland will present his “7 Questionable Questions” he asks senior management  to measure management’s support of SQF at a facility.

Food Fraud: Best Practices for Assessing Vulnerability and Mitigating Risk

Mark Morales, Corporate Accounts Director, Lloyd’s Register

Learn the top five elements of food and beverage supply chain to consider when assessing food fraud vulnerability and how to take a proactive approach to addressing food fraud risk.

Professionalism in Auditing

Geoff Farrell – SQF Technical Scheme Manager, NSF International

Learn what is expected from both the auditor and the facility to ensure a positive audit experience in a professional environment .

2:15 PM 3:15 PM
Knowledge Swaps (Food Sector Category Based)

Join one of several food sector category focused discussion groups to get ideas, swap best practices and share your successes and challenges with your food safety peers.

3:30 PM 4:15 PM
Education Sessions with Live Q&A

Join industry experts for a live presentation followed by Q&A. Then gather with a group of up to six of your peers to continue the conversation on each topic. You’ll be randomly assigned to your group, so this is a great opportunity to meet new people!

Unlocking the Secret to SQF: Your Guide to Risk-Based Food Safety Decision Making

Denise Webster, Owner and Food Safety Consultant, Food Brand Protection

The most important tool in your food safety toolbox is the Risk Assessment, the foundation of your SQF System. While documented risk assessments are an integral component of the SQF Code, cultivating a company-wide risk mindset for all food safety decisions can strengthen your program and reap benefits such as cost savings, adaptability to changing circumstances, process efficiency and brand protection. Explore the steps for a basic risk assessment and learn how to apply the risk management process to conduct threat assessments, vulnerability assessments, and other situations that would benefit from risk-based decisions.

The Future is Now – Leveraging Technology and Data Analytics Innovation to Enhance Food Safety Decision-Making

Claire Zoellner, PhD,  Food Safety Scientist,  iFoodsDS

Join food safety expert Claire Zoellner, PhD, iFoodDS, to learn the importance of data collection, analytical tools and technology to improve food safety decision-making throughout the supply chain. Practical case studies will provide insight on the opportunities and challenges with adopting new technology and data management systems. During this session you will learn how to utilize these tools to engage stakeholders and strengthen management commitment within your organization.

4:30 PM 5:30 PM
Community Networking Activities

Have some fun at the end of the day by joining friends, old and new, for a community activity such as trivia or an escape room.

Thursday, October 28, 2021

8:00 AM 5:00 PM
Scheduled Community Connections

Schedule one-on-one or group video meetings with other attendees.

9:15 AM 9:30 AM
Morning Highlights

Join our conference host for a useful guide to choosing which sessions to watch, which discussions to participate in and which events to attend.

9:30 AM 10:00 AM
Coffee Pop Ins

Grab your morning beverage of choice and join a 15-minute networking session before beginning your day. You’ll be randomly paired with up to six fellow participants, so this is a great opportunity to expand your network!

10:00 AM 5:00 PM
Ask the Experts Lounge

Drop in to the Ask the Experts Lounge to join scheduled Q&A sessions with speakers and other industry experts.

10:00 AM 10:30 AM
Thought Leadership Series: Breakfast Bites in the Coffee Corner

Grab your favorite morning beverage and join our sponsor partners to hear their thought leadership on a variety of timely topics.

Engaging Senior Management Support with Effective Management Reviews

Jeff Chilton – VP of Consulting Services, Alchemy Systems

Make a bigger impact with your Management Reviews! Get Senior Management engaged and enthusiastic about providing all the resources needed for SQF system success. During these challenging times of labor shortages and cost reductions, learn how to make the best use of these required processes.

10:45 AM 11:45 AM
General Session

The Real World SQF

LeAnn Chuboff, Vice President, Technical Affairs, SQFI
Samantha Shinbaum, Associate Director, Tyson Foods
Tatiana Lorca, Director of Supply Risk, Compass Group
Praveen Yerramsetti, Ph.D, Food Safety Auditor & Visiting Scientist, Oklahoma State University
Carmen Knolle, Quality Assurance Manager, H-E-B

What’s it like in the real world for an SQF auditor? Join a panel of SQF community members as they share real life audit experiences submitted to SQFI. The panel will address SQF audit challenges and issues, discuss innovative ways to address them and leave you with a clear understanding of the SQF audit throughout the supply chain. Share your own challenges and issues through the interactive chat and participate in a post-session discussion with a randomly-assigned small group of your peers.

12:00 PM 1:00 PM
Thought Leadership Series: Lunch Bites

Grab a bite to eat and join our sponsor partners to hear their thought leadership on a variety of timely topics.

Are You Ready for FDA’s Traceability Mandate?
Derek Hannum, SVP Customer Success, ReposiTrak
FDA’s proposed ruling (FSMA 204) mandating end-to-end tracking of lot code data to be implemented no later than November 2022, presents the food industry with a daunting task. Get an overview of the scope of the challenge faced by the entire food supply chain, specifically wholesalers, retailers and suppliers, and discover a low cost and easy to implement solution to help meet and exceed the proposed FSMA 204 requirements.

Demystifying Root Cause Analysis
Geoff Farrell – SQF Technical Scheme Manager, NSF International

Your audit has just concluded and there are NC’s to close. Now what? An effective Root Cause Analysis is a vital tool that every facility should have in its continuous improvement toolbox. Get an overview of new root cause analysis techniques and practical applications to help you fix your NCs forever.

Top Audit Mistakes and How to Correct Them: An Auditor’s Perspective
Brian Neal, Technical Manager, Eurofins Food Assurance
Gain insight from audit experts on the top issues that slow down or stop the audit process as well as the top SQF Code non-conformances. Get an auditor’s perspective on developing and implementing an effective correction plan.

1:15 PM 2:00 PM
Education Sessions with Live Q&A

Join industry experts for a live presentation followed by Q&A. Then gather with a group of up to six of your peers to continue the conversation on each topic. You’ll be randomly assigned to your group, so this is a great opportunity to meet new people!

How to Keep Yourself and Your Boss out of Jail

Melanie Neumann, EVP & General Counsel, Matrix Sciences International, Inc.

Misunderstanding the true definition of legal compliance can have serious consequences for you, your company, and your brand. Using SQF non-conformances as examples, this session will give you a better understanding of what legal compliance means, demonstrate how it applies to the SQF Code and give you tips and strategies to share this important information with senior management to protect yourself from legal risk.

Practice Makes Perfect: How to Avoid Going Down the Traceability Rabbit Hole

Jennifer McCreary, Technical Manager, Training Services, CTTS (Consulting,  Training and Technical Services), NSF International

Mock recalls are an essential component of a robust food safety plan. How does yours shape up? This informative session will help you re-assess your current recall plan and traceability systems to ensure ultimate preparedness in the event of a real recall. Discover how far backwards and forwards an effective trace exercise should go, which criteria and scenarios are most effective and how to take positive action on previous lessons learned.

2:30 PM 3:15 PM
Education Sessions with Live Q&A

Join industry experts for a live presentation followed by Q&A. Then gather with a group of up to six of your peers continue the conversation on each topic. You’ll be randomly assigned to your group, so this is a great opportunity to meet new people!

Stability In the Storm: Using an ERM Framework to Assess and Mitigate Supply Chain Disruption

Melanie Neumann,  EVP & General Counsel, Matrix Sciences International, Inc.(moderator)
Dr. John Spink, Assistant Professor, Department of Supply Chain Management, Michigan State University
Neil Marshall, Managing Director, GC International LLC, and Senior Food Safety Advisor, Matrix Sciences International

The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated how the food supply chain can be disrupted in ways we could not have imagined. Compounded by other disruptors such as natural hazards and labor strikes, the increasingly more complex nature of the global supply chain demands a fresh approach to risk management. Learn how the principles of Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) can be applied to better identify the most important risk areas and create a more risk-focused organizational culture. Discover the tools needed to implement ERM in your organization to assist in assessing and managing supply chain disruption.

Effective Label and Printed Materials Management from Soup to Nuts 

Dr. Angela ValadezSupply Chain Food Safety & Quality Assurance Manager
Publix Super Markets, Inc.

Whether printed packaging and labels for food products are outsourced or managed in-house, how do you ensure accuracy and regulatory compliance throughout the entire production process? Join packaging experts to gain insight on how to develop a comprehensive label management program. Learn best practices for label approval and application, ensuring both regulatory and SQF Code Edition 9 requirements are met and engaging internal and external stakeholders along the way.

3:30 PM 4:45 PM
Closing Keynote

Choosing Your Lens: Transforming Issues into Opportunities

Melissa Agnes, Founder and CEO of the Crisis Ready Institute and Author of “Crisis Ready: Building an Invincible Brand in an Uncertain World”

The lens through which you choose to see a negative event impacts your response and ultimately your brand and company’s reputation.  In this informative and constructive session, you’ll discover the powerful advantages of effective, daily issue management. Learn how to define the difference between an “issue” and a “crisis” to establish the most effective response and hear techniques for changing your organization’s crisis management response mindset. You’ll leave feeling empowered to transform every issue into an opportunity to build trust, credibility, and goodwill in the organization.