By: Leslie Sarasin, President and CEO, Food Marketing Institute
Leslie Sarasin 2017 SQF Conference

The multitude of modifications the food industry has faced in 2017 reinforces the two things I believe about change. The first is that even change I want and know is good for me, is still change and therefore challenging. The second is, given its inevitable character, each of us is either an agent of change or a victim of it.

Food safety professionals have had to serve as a change agent. They’ve led efforts to transform their organization in order to understand and comply with new Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) requirements and ensure a culture of food safety is embraced by all. This is no small task and I commend these professionals for their dedication and hard work you put forth to achieve these goals.

With consumers more involved and interested in the safety and quality of their food, food safety continues to top the priority list for our industry and our association. Selling safe, quality food is essential to our business. While consumers trust that the products coming into their homes are safe and of the highest quality, we must diligently execute the protocols necessary to ensure that trust is warranted and maintained.  

FSMA has put a spotlight on food safety, and compliance dates going into effect have changed the regulatory landscape. That, coupled with growing consumer expectations regarding food safety, means there has never been a more important time to ensure food safety professionals remain on top of the latest food safety issues, advance best practices and increase consumer confidence.

That’s why I encourage you and your team to join an expanding network of food safety and quality professionals at the 12th annual SQF International Conference in Dallas Texas, November 7-9, 2017. This marks the second year of SQFI’s partnership with FMI’s retail and wholesale community to bring you enhanced retail food safety education.

Leading food safety experts will discuss topics identified as priority initiatives by FMI’s Food Protection Committee, including FSMA Implementation and Compliance, Recalls, Listeria prevention, and Cleaning and Sanitation. The SQF International Conference will provide a valuable and engaging experience that will help sharpen your skills, advance your career and give you the resources necessary to implement, maintain and strengthen your food safety program.

You will come away from this conference better equipped to serve as the dynamic food safety agent of change you are called to be.

For more information and to register, visit

I look forward to seeing you in Dallas!