About Our Speakers

Nate Anderson, U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Dr. Anderson is a Research Agricultural Engineer at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN)\Office of Food Safety. He received his Ph.D. (2006), M.S. (1998) and B.S. (1996) degrees in Agricultural and Biological Engineering all from The Pennsylvania State University.

Dr. Anderson’s current research focuses on validation of thermal and non-thermal methods of pasteurization and sterilization of foods, aseptic processing, and risk assessment. Dr. Anderson’s research group has investigated the efficacy of extrusion, baking, roasting and drying processes and atmospheric pressure plasma for microbial decontamination of low moisture foods. Dr. Anderson is an FDA Subject Matter Expert and routinely called upon to review pasteurization and sterilization processes and aseptic packaging technologies.

He has authored numerous publications and made many invited presentations at professional meetings, conferences and workshops. Dr. Anderson is a current IFT NPD Member at Large, a Institute for Thermal Processing Specialists (IFTPS) Board member, and serves in other administrative and scientific leadership positions for various professional organizations and food safety research programs.

Nitin Bansal, Vice President, Olam Spices (Vietnam)

Nitin Bansal is Vice President of Olam Spices responsible for Olam’s Global Pepper & Tropical product lines based in Vietnam. Nitin joined Olam in 2007 and was managing Olam’s business in Edible Nuts & Spices in China before moving to Vietnam in 2014 to assume his current role. Prior to joining Olam, he was working for 6 years in a business management role in other companies in India and China.

Nitin holds MBA in International business for the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, New Delhi.

Mostafa Bedair, General Manager, Giza Seeds and Herbs

Mostafa is the General Manager of Giza Seeds and Herbs, the leading supplier of premium Egyptian seeds, herbs, dehydrated vegetables, and flavored teas. Considering Giza’s history of 80+ years in planting, sourcing, cleaning, sizing, sterilizing, and exporting Egyptian crops to global markets, he is a fairly new addition. As a Transformation Director, he was previously responsible for developing the Giza 2020 vision with the team and successfully launching key initiatives across agronomy, operational excellence, organizational development, and business development.

Prior to joining Giza, Mostafa worked as a management consultant with McKinsey & Company’s Operations and Restructuring practices. Based out of Germany, he was serving industrial and pharmaceutical clients in Europe and the Middle East.

Mostafa earned his MBA from INSEAD and his BSc and MSc in Industrial Engineering from Technische Universtität Darmstadt. He also spent a year as a research associate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and still cheers from overseas for the Bulls, Blackhawks, and Cubs!

Lynn L. Bergeson, Managing Partner, Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®)

Owner of Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®), Lynn L. Bergeson has earned an international reputation for her deep and expansive understanding of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), European Union Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), and especially how these regulatory programs pertain to nanotechnology, industrial biotechnology, synthetic biology, and other emerging transformative technologies. Her knowledge of and involvement in the policy process allows her to develop client-focused strategies whether advocating before Congress, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), or other governance and standard-setting bodies.

Ms. Bergeson counsels corporations, trade associations, and business consortia on a wide range of issues pertaining to chemical hazard, exposure and risk assessment, risk communication, minimizing legal liability, and evolving regulatory and policy matters pertinent to conventional, biobased, and nanoscale chemicals, particularly with respect to TSCA, FIFRA, Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA), REACH and REACH-like programs, and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) matters.

She served as chair of the American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources, and has served in many Section leadership positions. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Environmental Law Institute, the NanoBusiness Commercialization Association, and the Product Stewardship Society, among other business and law organizations, and lectures and writes frequently on legal, regulatory, and science policy issues. Ms. Bergeson is also President of The Acta Group (Acta®), B&C’s scientific and regulatory consulting arm, which assists chemical and product manufacturers in marketing and sustaining their products globally, and President of B&C Consortia Management, L.L.C., which helps the chemical industry leverage resources and maximize impact by forming consortia to achieve shared research, testing, regulatory, and access goals.

According to the Chambers USA Guide: “The universally highly regarded Lynn Bergeson of Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. has developed an enviable reputation in chemical and pesticide regulatory work, with particular expertise in nanotechnology. ‘She is probably the premier pesticide lawyer in DC,’ notes one impressed commentator. Peers predict that she is set to become ‘one of the most important lawyers in America.”

Bill Bryant, Founder/Chairman, Bryant Christie Inc.

Bill Bryant is founder and chairman of Bryant Christie Inc. Since founding the firm in 1992, Bill has been appointed under both Republican and Democratic administrations to advise USTR, USDA, and the Ex-Im Bank on our nation’s trade policy.

In 2007, Bill was elected to the King County/Seattle port commission and was re-elected in 2011. In 2016, Bill Bryant was the Republican candidate for governor of Washington state.

Before founding BCI, Mr. Bryant spent nearly seven years as vice president of the Northwest Horticultural Council, where he worked to eliminate trade barriers confronting the Northwest tree fruit industry. Prior to the NHC, he served as the director of the Governor’s Trade Council in Washington state. Mr. Bryant is a graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, where he concentrated his studies on Asia and Latin America.

Chiara Cecchini, Co-founder, Future Food Institute

Chiara is deeply involved in food and sustainability innovation, as well as regenerative design. She is the co-founder, and CEO of the American branch of Future Food Institute, an organization that is empowering individuals, institutions and organizations to design and execute new food-related products and services, adopting a human and planet centered approach. She is part of the Expert Network at the World Economic Forum, a fellow at the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto, Researcher and Alumna at Barilla Center Food Nutrition Foundation, as well as Fellow at Summit. She loves to write about food innovation and social impact.

Jeremy Z. Chamberlain, Global Food Certification Manager, SGS Group

Jeremy Chamberlain has worked in the food industry for over 20 years, beginning his journey in the family bakery.
Jeremy then worked in numerous international blue chip companies, working in a range of industries from frozen ready meals to flour milling.

Jeremy is now the Global Food Certification Manager for SGS Group where he has worked for the last 10 years.
In this role, Jeremy is responsible for managing the delivery of all GFSI Standards, maintaining their accreditations and ensuring that they are audited consistently around the globe.

Jeremy also sits on the GFSI Stakeholders Advisory Forum, the group that writes the GFSI Benchmark.

Shawn Ellis, Entrepreneur, Speaker, Author, and Resilience Coach

Shawn Ellis is an entrepreneur, speaker, author, and resilience coach who has been helping organizations inspire their teams to reach new heights since 1999. He brings are freshing perspective to help people find joy, meaning, and “life” in the midst of any circumstances, while also equipping and empowering them with tools and strategies to break through to the next level. His clients have included Fortune 500 companies, non-profit organizations, and associations across multiple industries including healthcare, retail, insurance, banking, technology, and more. As a business owner and single parent who has navigated and overcome multiple crises himself, Shawn speaks with humility and authenticity which audiences love, bringing “real world” solutions that audiences routinely describe as “a breath of fresh air.” www.ShawnEllis.com.

Benjamin L. England, Esq., CEO/Founder, Benjamin L. England & Associates, LLC

Mr. England is the CEO and Founder of Benjamin L. England & Associates, LLC and FDAImports.com, LLC . He routinely represents domestic and foreign companies of all sizes, assisting them in identifying FDA, USDA, FTC, EPA, and state requirements. His representation enables his clients to better understand and fully comply with federal and state requirements, and thereby reduce the risk of regulatory interference with products being imported, exported, or distributed in interstate commerce.

A 17-year veteran of FDA, Mr. England served as the Regulatory Counsel to the Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs. Before this, he served in scientific, inspectional, compliance and criminal and civil enforcement capacities as an FDA Consumer Safety Officer, Compliance Officer, a Senior Special Agent with FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations (OCI) and an analytical regulatory microbiologist.

Liz Figueredo, Technical Quality Manager, Quality Assurance International (QAI)

Liz Figueredo is the Technical Quality Manager for Quality Assurance International (QAI). In her 12 years of experience in organic certification, Liz has served as a Technical Reviewer and Organic Inspector. In her current role, she ensures that QAI is adhering to all applicable standards and statutes, so QAI’s clients–and consumers—can trust the integrity behind the Q mark and the USDA Organic seal. As an active member of the Accredited Certifiers Association (ACA), and Organic Trade Association (OTA); Liz works collaboratively with members of the organic industry to address complex issues facing organic certifiers and operators. When Liz is not busy ensuring the integrity of organic commodities, she spends her free time with her family, working out at the gym and volunteering in her community.

Maile Hermida, Partner at Hogan Lovells and ASTA’s General Counsel

Maile Hermida is a Partner at Hogan Lovells and also serves as ASTA’s General Counsel. She has considerable experience with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), having worked with numerous companies and trade associations on all aspects of the law since the day it was signed. She translates her in-depth knowledge of FSMA into practical solutions for companies working on implementation strategies. She also frequently presents trainings related to FSMA compliance and preparedness. Reflecting her deep involvement with all things FSMA, Maile is a Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance (FSPCA) Lead Instructor for the Preventive Controls for Human Food training and an FSPCA Trainer of Trainers and Lead Instructor for the Foreign Supplier Verification Programs (FSVP) training.

Maile is known for helping companies become and remain compliant with regulations overseen by federal agencies such as the FDA and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). She helps companies navigate tough situations involving product recalls, government inspections, and other enforcement actions such as Warning Letters and import detentions.

Maile also provides clients with advice on public policy issues and strategies for affecting regulatory change. She has vast experience advocating to FDA, including preparing comments on agency rulemakings. Additionally, Maile helps clients with food labeling requirements and development of label and advertising claims.

Maile is a frequent speaker and contributor to industry publications. Prior to joining us, she served as a judicial clerk to the Honorable Charles F. Lettow of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. Maile graduated with high honors from The George Washington University Law School, where she served as executive editor of The George Washington Law Review.

Larry Lichter, Vice President, Global Quality & Food Safety, McCormick & Co., Inc.

Larry Lichter has over 31 years of food industry experience with more than 29 of those years at McCormick.  Larry has held significant roles in the Quality Assurance, Supply Chain and Commercial functions. In his current role as Vice President of Global Quality and Food Safety for McCormick, Mr. Lichter leads the global efforts to assure food safety excellence, quality systems performance, quality/business partnership and technology development. He is currently a member of the Board of Directors and Treasurer of the American Spice Trade Association and is very active with charities supporting the homeless population of Baltimore. Larry graduated from the University of Virginia with a Bachelors in Biology and previously served 6 years on the Board of Directors of the Supply Chain Council. McCormick Brings the Joy of Flavor to Life as a global leader in flavor with more than $4.8 billion in annual sales. McCormick manufactures, markets and distributes spices, condiments, flavors, seasoning mixes, and many other flavorful products to the entire food industry in more than 140 countries and territories. Larry also serves as the current Vice President/Secretary on ASTA’s Board of Directors.

Mike Liu, Chairman/CEO, BCFoods

Mike Liu is the founder, Chairman, and CEO of BCFoods and President of the China Spice Association (CSA). Mike was a professor at the Shandong Agriculture University, Taian, Shandong, China from 1985-1996, and then a visiting scholar at Texas Tech University from 1996-1998 and Research Scientist at University of California, Davis, USA from 1998-2000.

Through Mike’s leadership, BCFoods has become a leading global food ingredients supplier with manufacturing and R&D centers in several different countries, along with a network of global ingredient partners, worldwide distribution platforms and 3PL services. BCFoods Shandong, founded by Mike Liu in 2007, merged with FDP USA in 2011 and renamed the company BCFoods, Inc. for North America. BCFoods Europe and Global were founded in 2013. The company then absorbed U.S. companies Unified Ingredients and Culinary Farms in 2017, and P. Visser and Zoon in The Netherlands in 2019. Today, BCFoods is a globally-recognized brand, associated with quality and sustainability.

As founding President at CSA, Mike has helped to collaborate the CSA colleagues to work together for development of China national food ingredients standards and to cooperate with international professional associations to support the China Spice Association.

Mike is married with one daughter and lives in Sacramento, CA.

John Minardi, Director of Sales, North America, Jain Farm Fresh Foods Inc.

John Minardi is Director of Sales managing the North America group for Jain Farm Fresh Foods Inc. which is a industry leader in the production of dehydrated Onion ,Garlic, Spices and Herbs from global production facilities. John joined Jain in 2018 and has an extensive background in the food ingredient segment while working for companies like Nu-Tek Food Science, Olam and Conagra over the last 17 years.

John holds bachelor degrees in International Business and Biotechnology and has been a member of ASTA since 2010.

John is married with 3 children and lives in Omaha, Nebraska.


DVR Rajiv Mohan, Vice President, Agri Business Division at ITC Limited

DVR Rajiv Mohan is the Vice President for Value Added Agri Products in the Agri Business Division of ITC Limited, one of India’s largest and integrated agri-to-consumer enterprises. Rajiv is an MBA with over 30 years’ experience in various facets of agri business – crop development, sourcing & supply chain, business development, exports and brand management.

Joining the organization in 1988 in the leaf tobacco business, he had successful stints in various operations and thereafter he took over as General Manager of exports in 2002, and was instrumental in significantly enhancing the global presence of ITC through an aggressive market expansion and customer acquisition strategy. This led to a significant increase in export business with a footprint in all continents covering major international customers.
From 2004 to 2011, he was also instrumental in developing the spices business with a specific focus on evolving a customized supply chain and differentiated products and services, resulting in rapid scale up of the business in domestic and export markets. He was also vested with the responsibility of building the supply chain vertical for the leaf tobacco business.

Subsequently, he led the commodities portfolio including wheat, rice, coffee and fruit pulp, with thrust on market expansion and putting in place multiple business models for enhanced profitability. Currently he is focusing on spices, coffee, fruits and vegetables and marine products with a thrust on value added products for enhancing exports and domestic market share with customized, food-safe and differentiated offers, including branded products.

Rajiv has travelled extensively and is interested in reading, sports and international cuisines.”

Guillermo Molina, Vice President, Sabater Spices North America, Inc.

Guillermo Molina is the Vice President for Sabater Spices North America, Inc. a subsidiary of Ramon Sabater. Guillermo joined the Ramon Sabater SAU in 2003. During his tenure with the company he has worked in purchasing, sales and operations. Guillermo also represents the interests of the company by attending international forums and meetings, and traveling to visit growing areas, auditing and training them. These experiences have helped to build his knowledge of the spice trade. Guillermo worked as a Purchasing Manager for Ramon Sabater SAU before moving in 2013 to manage the company’s direction and sales operations in the U.S.

Guillermo was born and raised in Murcia and studied International trade, business administration and received an MBA at ENAE Business School.

Mary M. Murphy, R.D., Senior Managing Scientist, Chemical Regulation & Food Safety

Ms. Murphy, a registered dietitian with over 20 years of experience as a consultant in the areas of dietary intake assessments, evaluation of the safety and efficacy of food ingredients and dietary supplements, and critical reviews of nutrition science information. Ms. Murphy analyzes national dietary data to identify food consumption patterns, assess nutrient intake adequacy and diet quality, examine relationships between food and nutrient intakes and health measures, and model the nutritional impact of various fortification scenarios or other potential modifications to the diet.

She has designed and completed numerous dietary exposure assessments using nationwide food consumption data from the United States such as the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data as well as other nationally representative datasets including data for the United Kingdom, Brazil, and China; for some analyses Ms. Murphy has developed custom databases of food constituents. Findings from these analyses have been published in the peer-reviewed literature and have been used to support product development efforts, marketing initiatives, product registration, and proposed changes in food labeling and dietary guidance. Ms. Murphy also has extensive experience in evaluating the safety and efficacy of novel ingredients added to foods, medical foods, infant formula, and dietary supplements. Ms. Murphy has developed GRAS dossiers and other safety assessments for food additives such as prebiotics, phytonutrients, fatty acids, and proteins, and has convened Expert Review panels. Ms. Murphy has developed claims substantiation dossiers for structure-function claims on foods and dietary supplements. Ms. Murphy also has conducted numerous critical reviews on a variety of nutrition topics, including systematic reviews and meta-analyses; these reviews have been summarized as white papers, peer-reviewed papers, and components of regulatory submissions.

Ben Nemtin, Co-founder , The Buried Life movement, Bestselling Author

Ben Nemtin is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of What Do You Want To Do Before You Die? and the star of the MTV show The Buried Life. As the co-founder of The Buried Life movement, Ben’s message of radical possibility has been featured by major media outlets including The Today Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, CNN, Inc., ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC News. Oprah called Ben’s life work “truly inspiring.” An acclaimed keynote speaker, Nemtin has presented his ‘5 Steps to Make the Impossible Possible’ to business conferences and corporate leadership teams around the world, including Amazon, Microsoft, Nationwide, Harvard, Viacom, Verizon, Levi’s, and more.

In a pit of depression, Ben and his three best friends decided to create the world’s greatest bucket list to make them feel alive. They bought a rickety old bus and criss-crossed North America, achieving the unthinkable. And most importantly, every time they accomplished a dream, they helped a complete stranger cross something off their bucket list. From playing basketball with President Obama to streaking a professional soccer field, from raising over $400,000 for charity to placing a record-breaking $250,000 bet on roulette—Ben’s bucket list quest has inspired millions to chase their dreams and realize that impossible is possible.


Matthew Noonan, Compliance Officer, FDA’s Office of Regulatory Affairs (ORA)

Matthew Noonan is a Compliance Officer with FDA’s Office of Regulatory Affairs (ORA), Human and Animal Food Division 2 East. He follows up on potentially violative establishment inspections and pursues voluntary correction or court action as appropriate. Matt also develops and presents agency training and industry presentations, and fields industry inquiries.

Previously, Matt served as a Field Investigator in program areas such as food, drugs, and bioresearch monitoring. He was a lead trainer of novice investigators across these areas. As a Food Specialist, Matt conducted complex high-risk inspections and served as a subject matter expert. He achieved ORA Level II Certification in Low Acid Canned Food and Acidified Food, as well as Seafood, and became a member of the ORA Certification Board for Seafood.

Currently, Matt is serving a detail as Consumer Safety Officer with FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN), Office of Food Safety, Division of Plant Products and Beverages, Spices and Seasoning Mixes Team.

Matt is an instructor for Preventive Controls for Human Food (PCHF) Regulator courses for ORA and CFSAN. He is a Certified Lead Instructor in PCHF through the Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance (FSPCA) and a Certified Seafood Trainer through the Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO). Matt is also a Member-at-Large and Newsletter Co-Editor for AFDO’s Central Atlantic States Association, Philadelphia Conference.

Matt is an Associate Adjunct Professor in the Temple University School of Pharmacy, Regulatory Affairs and Quality Assurance Graduate Program. He teaches courses in Food Law, Food Labeling and Regulatory Affairs, Food Good Manufacturing Practices, and Drug Good Manufacturing Practices.

Matt earned his JD from The George Washington University Law School (Washington, DC) and graduated cum laude from St. Joseph’s University (Philadelphia, PA) with a BS in Chemistry and a Minor in Secondary Education.

John Owen, Associate Director – Food and Retail, Mintel

John Owen is the Associate Director for Food and Retail at Mintel. provides in-depth analysis of grocery retailing, eCommerce, and a range of food categories. His past work with Mintel includes developing insight in household and home care categories, health and wellness, and consumer lifestyles. John brings extensive experience in advertising and shopper marketing.


Donald A. Prater, DVM Associate Commissioner for Imported Food Safety U.S. Food and Drug Administration Office of Food Policy and Response (OFPR)

Dr. Donald A. Prater is the Associate Commissioner for Imported Food Safety. In his current capacity, reporting to the Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response (FPR), he serves as a member of OFPR’s executive leadership team providing direction and management to all imported food safety programs under the jurisdiction of the Deputy Commissioner FPR. In addition, he serves as a senior scientific advisor and technical expert, supporting the Deputy Commissioner FPR on matters related to human and animal food safety and the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) to ensure the safety of the U.S. food supply.

Previously, Dr. Prater was the Assistant Commissioner for Food Safety Integration serving as the principal spokesperson on behalf of FDA’s Foods and Veterinary Medicine Program for imports discussions with external stakeholders, including foreign governments, as well as being responsible for import-related strategic resource planning activities. During his FDA tenure, Dr. Prater was Director of FDA’s Europe Office in Brussels, Belgium and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Country Representative to the European Union.

Dr. Prater received a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine (Government and Corporate track) in 1996. Following a three-year residency in anatomic pathology, he joined FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) in 1999 as a Veterinary Medical Officer. He served in several roles including Leader of the Aquaculture Drugs Team, CVM Pathologist, and Director of the Division of Scientific Support.

Lois Rossi, Rossi Regulatory Consulting Group, LLC

After completing a full career (30 years) with the Office of Pesticide Programs, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in September, 2014, Lois decided to continue on with work in the pesticide regulatory area. She formed Rossi Regulatory Consulting Group in October 2014.

She has been working as a consultant on various pesticide regulatory issues including with WHO in the area of vector control products, on a project to increase JMPR capacity and many MRL related issues. Other projects have involved establishing import tolerances for a variety of commodities and MRL harmonization issues and working on pesticides undergoing registration review in the US and other countries.

While at EPA she was the Director of the Registration Division in the Office of Pesticide Programs for 11 years. From 2004-2014 she served as the U.S. delegate to the Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues (CCPR). Also, she was the head of the U.S. delegation to the Working Group on Pesticides and the Registration Steering Group, OECD.

Ms. Rossi has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Zoology from the University of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire and a Master of Science degree in Biostatistics and Epidemiology from Georgetown University. She is a native of Rhode Island.

Peter Sayia, Partner, A.A. Sayia & Co.

Peter Sayia has been a partner with A.A. Sayia & Co., Inc. since 2008. Prior to joining the family business Peter spent 7 years as a fixed income trader with JP Morgan. As a Vice President he was based first in New York, then overseas in London and Hong Kong covering global debt markets. At A.A. Sayia Peter is responsible for sourcing all varieties of seeds and red peppers working with suppliers from Europe to Asia.

Peter has served on ASTA’s Annual Program Planning Committee, Arbitration Board and Government Relations Committee. Peter is currently serving as a Director with ASTA’s Board of Directors.

Peter graduated from George Washington University with a Bachelor of Business Administration.

Joseph Scimeca, PhD, Senior Vice President, Regulatory and Scientific Affairs, IDFA

Joseph Scimeca, PhD, leads IDFA’s Regulatory and Scientific Affairs team. Scimeca has extensive technical regulatory and scientific expertise that includes over 33 years of industry experience. In his position with IDFA, he provides strategic regulatory and scientific leadership for the dairy food and beverage industry covering a broad range of areas including product safety, quality, and labeling; nutrition and health policy; product identity standards; food defense; sustainability initiatives; Codex and other international standards; technical trade barriers; and emerging science and technologies
affecting the dairy sector.

He comes to IDFA from Cargill Inc. where he worked for 16 years, serving most recently as Vice President of Global Regulatory & Scientific Affairs. For Cargill, Scimeca provided leadership for ensuring food, feed, and other consumer products were safe, protected against intentional acts of economic adulteration and bioterrorism, and in conformance with relevant food/feed regulations, standards, and internal policies. He managed a team of 30 regulatory professionals based in locations around the world that collaborated with their business partners in facilitating compliance against existing and emerging regulations. Previously, he held similar regulatory affairs roles with General Mills, Pillsbury, and Kraft.

Scimeca has a proven track record working with the FDA and USDA to lead the broad food industry in regulatory reform, with notable efforts in shaping and influencing FDA FSMA regulations, and with several foreign governments in their efforts to modernize food regulations, including China, Canada, India, EU, and Indonesia. Scimeca is skilled at building and leading private-public partnerships to advance food safety initiatives leading to improved public health.

He has and continues to chair or serve on numerous and varied technical committees for scientific, academic, and trade organizations, including the National Academy of Sciences, IUFoST, IFT, ILSI, and JIFSAN, among others. He has authored nearly 40 peer-reviewed scientific papers, monographs, and book chapters.

In his leisure time, he enjoys traveling with his wife and adult children, and finding time to run, backpack, and rock-climb.

Carolyn G. Scrafford, Ph.D., M.P.H., Senior Managing Scientist & Office Director, Chemical Regulation & Food Safety

Dr. Scrafford has 18 years of experience in epidemiological methods, applied statistics, and risk assessment to evaluate the human health effects of food contaminants and additives, nutrients, and environmental compounds in the U.S. as well as Europe and other international settings. Dr. Scrafford has designed, conducted, and analyzed data from clinical trials, market basket surveys, and customized surveys on food consumption patterns and has experience in conducting dietary risk assessments for novel food ingredients, nutrients, heavy metals, and contaminants. She has expertise in the synthesis of epidemiological evidence to both quantitatively and qualitatively evaluate causal associations between dietary and environmental exposures and health outcomes.

Dr. Scrafford has developed GRAS notifications, Food Additive Petitions (FAPs), and Color Additive Petitions (CAPs) in support of pre-market approval submissions to the U.S. FDA as well as regulatory submissions to other international authoritative bodies by providing evaluations of the human safety data and conducting dietary exposure assessments. The exposure assessments are based on a variety of large databases from the US and other countries including NHANES (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey), the United Kingdom’s National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS), EFSA’s Comprehensive European Food Consumption Database, and USAID’s Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS). Dr. Scrafford also provides litigation support for Proposition 65 cases relating to food products and compounds including lead, cadmium, 4-MEI, caffeine, and acrylamide. For Proposition 65 cases, she writes sampling protocols designed to determine levels of food components and contaminants such as acrylamide and heavy metals in food products currently in the market place. Dr. Scrafford is responsible for analyzing the survey results to estimate the concentration of the contaminants in the food that is combined with consumption data to estimate consumer exposure to these compounds through the diet.

Dr. Scrafford has recently evaluated study protocols for clients conducting clinical trials designed to measure the association between novel food and dietary supplement products on specific health outcomes including weight loss and gastrointestinal health in support of safety and efficacy evaluations. She has also collaborated with academic institutions to investigate the association between dietary patterns and health outcomes using data from ongoing prospective cohort studies. In 2014, Dr. Scrafford published a methodological report for USAID’s Demographic and Health Surveys Program (DHS) with researchers at Hopkins and ICF International relating to maternal mortality estimates from over 30 developing countries.

Dr. Scrafford has an undergraduate degree in Biology from Colgate University. Concurrent to her work at Exponent, she earned her MPH (Masters of Public Health) in environmental health, MHS (Masters of Health Science) in Biostatics, and a Ph.D. and post-doctoral fellowship in epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. While at Hopkins, Dr. Scrafford was awarded a training grant from 2008-2010 by the National Institutes of Health to conduct research related to maternal and child nutrition and health in international settings. Her dissertation work took place in Nepal where she was responsible for the design, implementation, and management of a hospital-based prospective study aimed at improving the community-based diagnosis of pneumonia in children. Dr. Scrafford is a member of the American College of Epidemiology, the International Epidemiological Association, and the American Society for Nutrition. She has co-authored many peer-reviewed published scientific manuscripts relating to the work she has done both at Exponent and in collaboration with colleagues at Johns Hopkins University and in Nepal.

Laura Shumow, Executive Director, American Spice Trade Association

Laura Shumow has been with the American Spice Trade Association (ASTA) since September, 2018. She works with the ASTA Board of Directors to set the strategic direction of the association and with the ASTA staff to ensure the goals are met.

Prior to joining ASTA, Laura worked at the National Confectioners Association as the vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs. In this role, she also oversaw the Chocolate Council, a decision making body that handles issues specific to the cocoa and chocolate industry. She has a strong background in domestic and international regulatory issues, and a proven track record of success addressing challenges related to the supply chains of food ingredients sourced from developing countries. Laura received her master’s of health sciences from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and bachelor’s degree in food science from the University of Wisconsin. She is an active member of several professional societies, including the Institute of Food Technologists, where she serves as chair of the Food Laws and Regulations Section.

Martin Slayne, PhD, President SlayneConsulting LLC, Scientific & Regulatory, Risk Analysis, Global Codex Strategy & Solutions

Martin Slayne, PhD: is the President and Founder at Slayne Consulting LLC, supporting organizations in the US and International, on food and consumer product strategy, science and regulatory, risk analysis, ingredient and product safety, multi-stakeholder communication, and advocacy with government authorities. Martin’s senior executive experience included heading-up and leading global scientific and regulatory affairs, compliance, food safety and nutrition organizations at The Hershey Company, Mondelez International and PepsiCo, in the US. He is a global thought-leader and influencer in his field, leading global government engagement programs and cross-sector collaboration, including harmonization work through Codex, both for industry and in his past roles as Regulator on food and feed at the European Commission and UK government. Martin began his career with a PhD in microbiology research. He has a passion for driving front-edge scientific & regulatory organizations, communication across sectors, improving risk analysis consistency, communication and transparency, and building consumer trust.

James (McKinley) Thomason, Founder/President, Nueva Kerala S.A. & The Doug Jeffords Co.

James (McKinley) Thomason is the Founder at Nueva Kerala S.A. & President at The Doug Jeffords Company. McKinley took over as the President of Doug Jeffords Company after his grandfather John Mack Thomason passed away in 2005. Since the early ’60s, Doug Jeffords Company has provided Nashville and the southeastern United States with seasonings and spices and custom blends of unparalleled quality. Farmers from distant counties sought out Mr. Jeffords’s seasoning blends for their freshness and consistent quality. The Doug Jeffords Company has a reputation throughout Middle Tennessee for delicious sausage seasonings. McKinley’s goal is to continue growing the family business, to exceed their customer’s expectations and provide the highest quality of spices and seasonings for restaurants, food manufacturers, distributors, and private label customers. McKinley’s latest venture is Nueva Kerala S.A., which was established in March 2019. McKinley is working with Nueva Kerala in the Guatemala area on a sustainable cooperative sourced cardamom and allspice processing and export to US and EU standards

Amanda Topper, Associate Director of Foodservice Research, Mintel

Amanda has more than a decade of market research experience spanning industries including healthcare, travel, hospitality, retail food, and foodservice. She is an Associate Director, responsible for overseeing Mintel’s foodservice research offerings, and providing insight and competitive analysis across deliverables, and client and industry presentations. She was previously a Senior Analyst specializing in the retail food industry. Her insights have appeared in top outlets including The Wall Street Journal, GQ, CNN, TIME, and leading trade publications.

Amanda is also well-versed in restaurant social media strategy, media analysis and measurement, and influencer relationships. She is a writer for several food publications including Thrillist and InsideHook, and manages a personal restaurant review blog and food Instagram account.

John E. Verbeten, Director, Division of Import Operations Office of Enforcement and Import Operations U.S. Food & Drug Administration

John Verbeten is the Director of FDA’s Division of Import Operations. His team provides leadership, instruction, and support for all aspects of FDA’s import operations, including investigation and enforcement activities, interagency collaboration, IT systems development, and management of FDA’s Import Alert program.

Throughout his 30 years with the FDA, John has specialized in import operations. He spent his first 14 years in FDA field offices in Dallas District and Chicago District, primarily as an import investigator, and was named FDA’s Inspector of the Year in 2000. John has been a member of the national instructor cadre responsible for training employees on import law and FDA import procedures since 2001.

As a staff member and manager in the Division of Import Operations since 2004, John has been integral to issuance and maintenance of instruction to the field including Regulatory Procedures and Investigations Operations; development of import procedures for FDA field offices and headquarters; development of new regulatory/statutory programs; and training of FDA staff on all aspects of FDA’s import operations. He has been heavily involved in issues related to imported pharmaceuticals, International Mail Facilities, and in issues specifically dealing with U.S. Customs and Border Protection laws, regulations, and procedures.

John became Director of FDA’s Division of Import Operations in January 2017.