About Our Speakers


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.