ASTA Online 2020

ASTA Online is currently available to easily gain access to presentation recordings, Powerpoint decks in PDF format, videos, and additional resources made available for each installment of this web series. Some information may not be released for availability by request of the presenter.

Past registrants, please visit Past Annual Meetings to access this web series with your passcode.

Registration for the ASTA Online series is available at the following rates:

Web Series Pricing Member $595 Non-Member $1,195

* Please make sure you login as an ASTA member to receive the member rate. Non-members, contact ASTA for a login user name to register online.

Questions? Please contact staff at [email protected] or call (202) 331-2460.

Archived Installments

Tuesday, April 21, 2020 – Opening Message: Resilience in the Face of Uncertainty and Friday, June 5, 2020 – Closing Keynote: Staying Resilient in Trying Times

Resilience in the Face of Uncertainty – Ben Nemtin, Co-founder, The Buried Life Movement
ASTA is excited to invite Ben Nemtin back following his 2019 Keynote presentation that inspired us to pursue our bucket lists. In a fast-changing world, leaders and teams have to dig deep within themselves to break through and find opportunity in uncertain times. This year, Ben will check in on last year’s goals and share tips to increase well-being during times of stress, anxiety and burnout.

Staying Resilient in Trying Times – Shawn Ellis, Entrepreneur, Speaker, Author, and Resilience Coach
In this time of unprecedented uncertainty, not only do we have to make critical shifts in our businesses, but we must also place an even higher priority on our mental and emotional wellbeing in order to meet the challenges of the day. In this session with Shawn Ellis, resilience expert and creator of the course, “Working with What Is,” you will learn how to tap into the power of your heart, mind, and spirit to cultivate the resilience that will allow you to not only survive, but thrive, in the face of this crisis. You will learn:
• The essential “F-word” (not that one) for resilient leaders to rise and thrive
• The importance of “State Before Strategy” in successfully navigating change
• How (and where) to find certainty in the midst of crisis
• The one daily practice that allows you to re-energize, refocus, and rise up for another day

Wednesday, April 22, 2020 – Navigating the Impact of COVID-19 on the Spice Industry – Installment 1

The Impact of COVID-19 on Spice Supply Chains – Peter Sayia, A A Sayia & Company
ASTA’s COVID-19 Resources and Advocacy – Laura Shumow, American Spice Trade AssociationThe COVID-19 pandemic is having a direct impact the spice industry. Disruptions include concerns related to governmental restrictions, labor shortages, transportation challenges, import delays, supply shortages, and infrastructural interruptions. As spice producing countries respond to the pandemic with shutdowns and lockdowns, spice production around the world is subject to unprecedented volatility. While production and exports in some regions are continuing, other countries are experiencing massive upheaval. This presentation will provide an overview of how the pandemic is impacting spice supply chains in key producing regions including China, Vietnam, India, and Europe.

Maintaining Spice Operations Safely During a Pandemic – Larry Lichter, McCormick & Company, Inc.
All major domestic and global health authorities have confirmed that food is not believed to be a vector for transmission of COVID-19 and many spice production facilities around the world are continuing to operate at this time to support the food industry. It is critically important for companies to protect the health of their employees, customers, and consumers while operating during the outbreak. This presentation will provide an overview of current industry practices and examples for how to maintain spice operations safely in the midst of the pandemic crisis. Everyone has a role to play in the responding to the pandemic. Spice facilities must maintain focus on food safety and quality to protect the food supply as health systems will be focused on the COVID-19 response.

Regulatory and Legal Considerations for Spice Operations – Maile Hermida, Hogan and Lovells & ASTA’s General Counsel
The food industry is deemed to be a part of our nation’s “critical infrastructure” by the federal government and U.S. regulatory agencies are committed to supporting the food industry’s ongoing ability to produce food during the pandemic. This presentation will provide an update on recent federal agency guidance and recommendations for the food industry. For example, FDA is working to temporarily provide flexibility on certain compliance issues and has suspended routine food safety inspections. Nonetheless, it is more important than ever to continue to produce food safely and continue to ensure FSMA compliance. Finally, this talk will also touch on recent hot topics and frequently asked questions pertaining to COVID-19 on spice operations.

ASTA’s COVID-19 Resources and Advocacy- Laura Shumow, American Spice Trade Association
ASTA continues to work on behalf of our  members and advocate for U.S. federal agencies to support the industry’s ability to maintain normal spice operations throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. ASTA is closely monitoring governmental guidelines from federal agencies and working with a broad coalition of food trade associations to ensure that the FDA and other agencies that impact the food industry make sure that Americans continue to have access to safe, healthy foods. ASTA has signed on to and submitted several letters advocating for continued operations and flexibility and is regularly participating in conference calls with federal agencies to advise them of the impact of the pandemic on the spices industry.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020 – Global Trade and Regulations for the Spice Industry – Installment 2

Overview of Current Global Trade and Tariff Landscape – Bill Bryant, Bryant Christie
Bill Bryant, a leading expert in global trade and regulations, will set the stage for the webinar with an overview of the current trade landscape and information about the dynamic global regulatory environment. Bill will discuss the challenges that the food industry faces due to the lack of harmonization of food standards and regulations. He will outline specific challenges related to global regulation of pesticide and contaminant issues. Finally, Bill will provide insight on tools and strategies that food companies can use to navigate these complex issues.

Impact of Covid-19 On Food Trade – Ben England, Benjamin L. England & Associates, LLC
By now we’ve seen drastic changes to every aspect of the food trade due to the pandemic. Mr. England, a 17-year veteran of FDA, will discuss the current environment and lessons learned related to the impact of COVID-19 on the food industry and international trade including Continuity of Operations, essential industries that fail in your supply chain, relieving the financial stress with contractual and insurance mechanisms and, if there is time, predictions on how this impacts food trade operations in the future.

Global Food Regulation Update -Martin Slayne, PhD, Slayne Consulting LLC
This session will provide an overview of the global regulatory environment, with a focus on regulatory developments impacting the spice industry. Different regions take fundamentally different approaches to the foundation of food regulations. For example, the European Union’s precautionary approach differs from the risk-based approach of other western countries, and the reactionary approach of other regions. This talk will discuss the practical implications of these differences and the challenges of harmonization of international standards.

Thursday, April 30, 2020 – Managing in a Time of Uncertainty – Installment 3

Crisis Management ≠ Risk Management – Joe Scimeca, IDFA
Compare and contrast these two distinct approaches to managing an issue, with an eye to the recent COVID-19 crisis. This highlights the similarities and differences between the two seemingly similar approaches for handling incidents – crisis management and risk management. Crisis management is different from risk management in that it is aimed at assessing and managing threats before, during, and after they have occurred. Whereas risk management is the process of assessing potential threats (risks) and determining the optimal ways to avoid those threats. This presentation will provide some tips on best practices for effective communications and will also examine several case studies of poorly and successfully managed crisis incidents.

How Small Spice Businesses Are Dealing with COVID-19 – James “McKinley” Thomason, Doug Jeffords
This session is taking a look at the struggles of the small business owner in these times, how they have been able to pivot their businesses, etc. McKinley of Doug Jeffords will talk about the impact to his company, which serves many of the restaurants in Nashville, and the changes he has had to make to keep going.

Update on Sterilization Capacity During the Outbreak – Steve Markus, Sterigenics
Sterigenics has decided to temporarily suspend ethylene oxide processing of spices in Santa Teresa, New Mexico facility. Sterigenics Los Angeles ethylene oxide facility is also restricting the volume of spices to very low levels. This is due to the demand for processing products specific to coronavirus response. This virus is having less of an effect on the gamma processing facilities. This situation changes daily and this presentation will provide the latest update.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020 – Chemical Regulations and Resources – Installment 4

Chemical Product Issues of Note – Lynn L. Bergeson, Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®)
American Spice Trade Association (ASTA) members are keenly aware of evolving legal and regulatory standards pertinent to food safety and a range of related domestic and international chemical product issues. Several key developments are expected in 2020 to be uniquely relevant to ASTA member companies. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Pesticide Programs continues to address pesticide residue and risk issues relating to registrations, particularly a host of supply chain control issues related broadly to pesticide uses for which tolerances may not exist. Similarly, regulatory standards in Europe are expected to change, possibly dramatically, in ways that could influence imported spice products. This presentation will focus on key federal pesticide registration, residue, risk assessment, crop groupings, and supply chain issues, and specific European maximum residue level developments. It will briefly also address California Prop 65 and related domestic chemical product warning, labeling, and disclosure requirements of interest to ASTA member companies. The presentation also will speculate on the likely consequences of a new Administration and the implications of a potential shift in leadership in Congress.

Exposure-based Screening Tool for Contaminants in Spices – Carolyn Scrafford and Mary Murphy, Exponent
Based on a traditional exposure assessment framework, a screening tool was developed to estimate exposure to select contaminants in spices using consumption and dietary supplement use data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). As part of this tool, the screening-level exposures to selected contaminants from spice consumption are compared to each contaminant’s established regulatory safety benchmarks. A brief overview of a traditional exposure assessment and risk characterization framework will be presented along with a demonstration of the tool using lead contamination in five spices (basil, cinnamon, ginger, oregano and turmeric) as a case-study. As part of this case-study, the current regulatory status of lead will be presented along with a discussion of how the tool can be leveraged by companies in conducting their own compliance assessments and in conversations with regulatory bodies, such as the US FDA.

Update on ASTA’s Agricultural Chemical Advocacy Efforts – Lois Rossi, Rossi Consulting and Laura Shumow, American Spice Trade Association
Over the last year, ASTA has met with EPA to discuss ways to streamline the process of obtaining import tolerances for spices. EPA released a proposed rule on crop groupings for the establishment of pesticide tolerances for spices and herbs. ASTA issued comments on this proposed rule. ASTA also submitted two import tolerance petitions on black pepper. ASTA’s Executive Director Laura Shumow and consultant (formerly EPA) Lois Rossi will provide an update on these efforts

Thursday, May 7, 2020 – Regional Updates  – Installment 5

Regional Updates
India – DVR Rajiv Mohan, ITC Limited (Agri Business Division)
Middle East (Egypt, Morocco, Turkey) – Mostafa Bedair, Giza Seeds & Herbs
China – Mike Liu, BCFoods
EU (Spain, etc.) – Guillermo Molina, Sabaters Spice
Vietnam and Indonesia – Nitin Bansal, Olam
U.S. – John Minardi (Moderator), Jain Farm Fresh
Representatives from key spice growing regions will provide updates on how COVID-19 is impacting the supply chain in the spice industry in their respective countries. Speakers will report on government interventions to mitigate the virus and how these interventions are directly and indirectly impacting labor, transportation, processing, trade and other factors in the respective region

 Monday, May 11, 2020 – Market Insights of an Uncertain Future – Installment 6

The Impact of COVID-19 on Consumer Purchase Behavior – Amanda Topper and John Owen, Mintel
The impact of COVID-19 will be felt long after the pandemic ends. Mintel’s team of expert analysts will discuss the biggest trends happening in the packaged food and drink and foodservice markets and how retailers and operators are pivoting to meet today’s consumers’ needs. These trends will include a look at how perceptions of restaurant meals are changing, continued blurring of retail and foodservice, changing shopping behaviors and the rise of e-commerce. Join Associate Director of Food and Retail, John Owen and Associate Director of Foodservice, Amanda Topper, as they explore Mintel’s comprehensive consumer research, in-depth analysis and examples that support the current and future impact of COVID-19 on consumer behavior and implications for the spice market.

The Future of Our Food System is Already Here – Chiara Cecchini, Innovation/Global Outreach Lead, Future Food Institute
The Future Food Institute is exploring how to create a more sustainable future of food while understanding technology’s role in closing the gaps in our food system. Food industry professionals are often pioneers that are responsible for more than just the bottom line; their choices can have tremendous impacts on human health and world sustainability. The future of food is here. From new protein sources, to indoor farming systems, from waste upcycling, to new food services: the way we eat has been disrupted emotionally, socially and culturally, giving to all of us the opportunity to improve our food system. This session will explore new technologies impacting the agricultural sector and discuss how innovation in the food and agricultural sector will impact the spice industry.

Thursday, May 21, 2020 – Validation For Spice Companies – Installment 7

FDA Presents Validation Information for Spice Companies – Matthew Noonan, Compliance Officer, FDA’s Office of Regulatory Affairs (ORA), and Nate Anderson, U.S. Food and Drug Administration
FDA’s Matthew Noonan, Office of Regulatory Affairs (ORA) and Nate Anderson, U.S. Food and Drug Administration will present information to spice companies on what spice companies must provide to FDA when it comes to validation studies, reconditioning requests for spices that are detained at the port of entry, and what the FDA expects for spice companies trying to remove a product from an import alert. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear directly from the FDA on their expectations for documentation and what the agency is looking for to address these situations.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020 – Maintaining Audits and Certifications during the Pandemic – Installment 8

Maintaining Food Safety Certifications During the Pandemic – Jeremy Z Chamberlain, SGS Group
Many companies have imposed strict limitations on visitors and travel to protect the health and safety of their employees during the outbreak. FDA has ceased routine domestic and foreign food safety inspections. In the meantime, spice companies are working to maintain a variety of third party food safety, quality, and specialty certifications in the absence of auditors. The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) has announced a 6-month extension period to help accommodate companies in the situation, and various Certification Program Owners (SQF, BRCGS, FSSC, etc.) have issued statements in line with this. Meanwhile, other certifying bodies, such as kosher and organic, are exploring other audit options including remote and virtual audits.

Organic Certifications During the Pandemic – Elizabeth “Liz” Figueredo Quality Assurance International (QAI), a division of NSF
Quality Assurance International (QAI), a division of NSF, provides certifications for organic products under the USDA NOP and other international organic certification programs. Liz Figueredo of QAI will provide updated information on how QAI is handling organic certifications, including organic audits, certifications for new products, and any changes to their organic certification program related to the pandemic. Both Liz and Lauren Browning will also answer questions from participants, including any questions about the process of becoming organic certified during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Friday, June 5, 2020 – FDA Priorities for the Safety of Imported Foods – Installment 9 

FDA Priorities for the Safety of Imported Foods – Don Prater, Associate Commissioner for Imported Food Safety, Office of Food Policy and Response, FDA and John Verbeten, FDA Office of Enforcement and Import Operations
Don Prater, Associate Commissioner for Imported Food Safety, Office of Food Policy and Response, FDA, and John Verbeten, FDA Office of Enforcement and Import Operations, will close out ASTA Online with a session on the FDA COVID-19 response and issues that arise due to COVID-19 and its impacts on businesses. In 2019, the FDA released a strategy for the safety of imported food and launched the “New Era of Smarter Food Safety.” These initiatives intend to strengthen the U.S. food system, including a focus on oversight and traceability of imported foods. However, with the outbreak of COVID-19, the FDA is pivoting its short term strategies to address immediate issues, including virtual inspections, reordering of near-term priorities, and using all available tools to insure that critical infrastructure, such as food, can be quickly imported. FDA’s priority is the safety of imported foods, especially in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. FDA representatives will also discuss observations from the ports and share enforcement and compliance trends, including an overview of import alert data on spices.

Wednesday, August 19 – 10:00am to 11:30am – Crop Report – Installment 10  

Black Pepper – Nitin Bansal, Olam
Herbs, Seeds and Spices – Mostafa Bedair, Giza Seeds & Herbs
By popular demand, ASTA Online has been expanded to include additional sessions of traditional crop reports. Many ASTA Online participants indicated in their survey responses that while the regional update session was very informative, they also missed the traditional crop report format this year. We heard your feedback, and the speakers have graciously offered to return and provide regular crop report updates.

Thursday, August 20 – 9:30am to 11:00am – Crop Report – Installment 11  

U.S. Garlic and Onion – John Minardi, Jain Farm Fresh
Chinese Garlic – Dr. Hai Su, BCFoods
Chilis – DVR Rajiv Mohan, ITC Limited (Agri Business Division)
Paprika – Guillermo Molina, Sabater Spices
By popular demand, ASTA Online has been expanded to include additional sessions of traditional crop reports. Many ASTA Online participants indicated in their survey responses that while the regional update session was very informative, they also missed the traditional crop report format this year. We heard your feedback, and the speakers have graciously offered to return and provide regular crop report updates.




Gold Sponsors
Jain Farm Fresh Foods Ltd.
Kalsec, Inc.
Paprimur S.L.
Nedspice Group
Sabater Spices
Silva International
Trilogy Essential Ingredients, Inc. 

Silver Sponsors
Advanced Spice & Trading, Inc.
Certified Laboratories, Inc.
Food Safety Net Services
Harris Spice Co., Inc.
Johanson Transportation Service
Mincing Spice Company
SGS North Ameri