Food Safety Forum

Shaping Listeria Science into Policy 

Tuesday, September 14, 2021 - Virtual Event

The American Frozen Food Institute is leading the science of Listeria monocytogenes management in the food industry and working to align global food safety policies to achieve improved public health outcomes.

The Latest Science on Listeria
Global Listeria Policy
Putting Policy into Action
Frank Yiannas
Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response, FDA
Sandra Eskin
Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety, FSIS

AFFI, alongside food industry partners is convening global research experts, industry professionals and food safety policy leaders to discuss emerging Listeria monocytogenes science and how the food industry can apply more practical and science-based approaches to address the risks associated with Listeria monocytogenes in food production. This forum will introduce, expand on and deliberate key concepts that are at the heart of Listeria science and policy.

Cohosted by the Following Organizations 

Who should attend? This forum is intended to be a platform for thought leadership to shape and implement a harmonized global approach to control Listeria monocytogenes that has a positive impact on the public health consequences of listeriosis. Disciplines that may benefit from participation include:

  • Industry Food Safety Professionals (ex. quality assurance, sanitation, operations, supply chain)

  • Advocacy Groups

  • Regulatory Officials (policy makers and state and local regulators)

  • Consulting Professionals (ex. compliance auditors, product development and research)

  • Third-party Suppliers (ex. testing labs, equipment manufacturers)

  • Academia

What does it cost to attend? This forum is provided at no cost to anyone who registers. 

The Forum is closed to all press.  

Schedule of Virtual Events

Tuesday, September 14

All sessions are virtual and in Eastern Daylight Time (EDT)

11:00 a.m. (EDT) 
Keynote: Food Safety Insights From Policy Leaders

Hear from FSIS and FDA policy leaders who have been at the forefront of food safety as we partner with them on the application of science-based and practical approaches to address improvements in public health. 


    • Sandra Eskin, Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety, FSIS

      Sandra Eskin brings a history of working with diverse stakeholders to improve public health outcomes. She will discuss her role and vision in implementing strategic initiatives at the intersection of science and policy.    

    • Frank Yiannas, Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response, FDA  

      Frank Yiannas will present FDA’s ongoing journey on the new era of smarter food safety and discuss the industry’s active role in shaping a collaborative future.        

11:40 a.m. (EDT) 
The Latest Science on Listeria – Why is this important? 

An introduction to AFFI’s Listeria monocytogenes Expert Panel and its manuscript, “Alternate Approaches to the Risk Management of Listeria monocytogenes in Low Risk Foods” (published in Food Control).

Learn about the Expert Panel’s recommendations for Listeria management and the potential for practical and sustained approaches to Listeria regulatory policy that improve public health. Click here to read more. 


Alternate Approaches to Risk Management of Listeria monocytogenes

11:50 a.m. (EDT) 
Risk-Based Listeria Management: Science, Policy, and Tools 

Listeria prevention and control has traversed the gamut of hazard-based to risk-based approaches. Industry food safety programs and global regulatory principles both seek to address the challenges of a ubiquitous environmental pathogen in our food system yet the burden of foodborne listeriosis remains.

Hear current perspectives related to Listeria management strategies in different geographies and evolving approaches that merge available Listeria science, research, and regulations to understand the true public health risks associated with listeriosis. Join the conversation to evolve practical and science-based policies, drive best-in-class industry practices, and develop new technologies to help us improve our ability to reduce Listeria monocytogenes in the food supply. 


  • Dr. Donna Garren, EVP of Science and Policy, AFFI (moderator)

  • Lisa Weddig, VP, Regulatory and Technical Affairs, National Fisheries Institute (moderator) 

  • Dr. Martin Wiedmann, Gellert Family Professor in Food Safety, Cornell 

  • Dr. Jeff Farber, Former Director of Microbial Food Safety, Health Canada and Professor of Food Science, University of Guelph, Canada

  • Dr. Craig Hedberg, Professor and Interim Division Head, Division of Environmental Health Sciences, University of Minnesota and Co-Director, Minnesota Integrated Food Safety Center of Excellence

12:50 p.m. (EDT)
Q&A on Risk-Based Listeria Management: Science, Policy and Tools 

1:00 p.m. (EDT)
10-minute Break 

1:10 p.m. (EDT)
Putting Policy into Action – Moving Forward (Roundtable) 
Efforts to prevent and control Listeria monocytogenes in food production need to align with evolving regulatory policies and present unique food safety management opportunities through every step of the food supply chain. 

Learn about practical sampling and testing strategies to support quantitative Listeria detection methods, interpretation of testing results and regulatory compliance. Specifically, experts will share their expertise and knowledge on the practical implications of these new approaches on day-to-day operations and how they may fit into the broader food safety system. 




2:00 – 2:10 p.m. (EDT)
Q&A on Implementing Policy 

5-minute Break 

2:15 p.m. (EDT)
Industry Efforts – Current and Future State (Roundtable) 
Effective sanitation and robust environmental monitoring programs are the foundation of a successful food safety program to target Listeria monocytogenes. Continuous improvement of these practices across the industry are critical in ensuring safe food production. 

Learn from diverse industry experts on how their companies educate and equip their workforce with the appropriate tools to address risks associated with Listeria monocytogenes in their production facilities and create a strong food safety culture. 

  • Dr. Robert Brackett, Vice President and Director of the Institute of Food Safety and Health (IFSH) at Illinois Institute of Technology  (moderator)

  • John Allan, Vice President, Regulatory Affairs and International Standards, International Dairy Foods Association 

  • Scott Thacker, Food Safety & Quality Assurance Director of Food Safety, Trident Seafoods Corporation (NFI) 

  • Dr. Max Teplitski, Chief Science Officer, Produce Marketing Association 

  • Kathleen O’Donnell, Chief Scientist, Wegmans Food Markets 

2:55 p.m. (EDT)
Closing Remarks

3:00 p.m. (EDT) 
Networking Happy Hour hosted by Food Marketing Institute 

4:00 p.m. (EDT) 

Made Possible By These Food Safety Advocates

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