The 2018 edition of the Feed and Pet Food Joint Conference, an annual collaboration between the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) and the Pet Food Institute (PFI), will feature several industry leaders and education sessions that will provide the latest information to guide feed and pet food companies through a complex regulatory environment as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) continues to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act.
The 9th annual Feed and Pet Food Joint Conference, scheduled for Sept. 17-19 at the Hyatt Regency St. Louis at the Arch in St. Louis, MO, also will feature research and expert insight on shifting consumer preferences and how they affect the feed, pet food and animal agriculture industries.
"It is critical for the feed and pet food sectors to work with regulators, our suppliers and each other to advance practical compliance while still ensuring product safety and maintaining the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of our ingredient sourcing, manufacturing processes and distribution systems," says NGFA President and CEO Randy Gordon and PFI President and CEO Dana Brooks. "This year's conference programming and speakers will help manufacturers and ingredient suppliers address these requirements, provide timely insights on best practices for facility inspections, and explore the latest research, innovation, and industry and consumer trends."
Dr. Steven Solomon, director of FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine, will keynote the event. In addition, Jenny Murphy, consumer safety officer for FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine and the agency's point person on FSMA implementation for animal feed and pet food, has been confirmed as a featured speaker. In addition to updates on FSMA implementation from top FDA officials, the conference will feature an interactive training session to prepare employees for the type of new conversation-based inspections under FSMA. Confirmed as discussion leaders are Cassandra Jones, associate professor at Kansas State University, who is instrumentally involved in FSMA training, Michael Sayles, executive director of food safety and quality at Diamond Pet Foods, and Matt Frederking, vice president of regulatory affairs and quality at Mid America Pet Food.
Meanwhile, Jayson Lusk, distinguished professor and department head of the Department of Agricultural Economics at Purdue University, has been confirmed as a featured speaker to present his research on consumer attitudes regarding food animal production practices, as well as consumer trust and confidence issues important to the pet food industry. Lusk was honored in 2017 as winner of the Borlaug Communication Award for his work on communicating the benefits of modern agricultural production practices to consumers.
Attendees also will hear from Dr. Ben Warren, director of product safety and regulatory affairs at Land O' Lakes, Stan Cook, president of the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), and other industry experts. In addition, cybersecurity risks and how to address them will be discussed by Geoff Jenista, cybersecurity adviser for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Office of Cybersecurity and Communications. Separate pet food and animal feed breakout sessions also are scheduled to address topics of specific interest to these respective sectors.
The conference begins with a welcome reception on Sept. 17 and concludes on the morning of Sept. 19.
The PFI Board of Directors, as well as NGFA and PFI committees, also will meet in conjunction with the event.