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Tom Graham is the Director of the National Inspection Division in Operations Branch for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), and has worked for the Federal government for over 30 years.
Tom is one of Canada’s leading experts in Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP), Food Safety Enhancement Program (FSEP), and is responsible for the development of the Regulations for Mandatory HACCP and the Compliance Verification System (CVS) policies for Canada.
In his current role, Tom leads three teams established in Imports, Inspection and Business Analysis and Planning that are responsible for and support the operational delivery of CFIA Inspection activities for food, animal health and plant health.
Dr. Rebecca Buckner works for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Foods and Veterinary Medicine, where she is a policy advisor on the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) to the FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine. Prior to her current role, Dr. Buckner was a Food Technologist with FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) for 10 years. Her areas of expertise at CFSAN included policy development on product/pathogen pairs such as shell eggs and Salmonella Enteritidis, ready-to-eat foods and Listeria monocytogenes, and foods and agents causing transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) such as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and chronic wasting disease (CWD).
Vaneska Mattos is the Director of Quality Assurance and Food Safety for Tim Hortons.
Vaneska holds a Master of Business Administration from Fundação Getulio Vargas – Brazil and a Bachelor of Science in Food Processing Engineering from Unicamp – Brazil. She has more than 18 years of diversified experience within the food manufacturing industry sector, specializing in food processing; quality management systems; food safety; continuous improvement and lean manufacturing. She has worked with prominent multinational corporations, including nine years with Unilever, one of the world’s largest consumer products companies.
At Tim Hortons, Vaneska is responsible for quality and food safety management. Her main focus is developing and maintaining plans and programs for advancing food safety and quality, and implementing proactive tools and systems to enable outstanding quality of products and services. She leads QA risk assessment and mitigation strategy for the Tim Hortons supplier network, distribution centres and vertically integrated partners.
Robert Trudel has been a food professional ever since a young teenager working in restaurants and hotels in multiple roles. In his current role as Director of Quality Assurance at Bento Sushi, Robert’s main focus is developing and implementing advanced training initiatives, food safety and overall quality of product. He also oversees 400 plus onsite locations and double that in DSD locations as well as 6 factories spreading throughout Canada and the USA. He works closely with both the CFIA and FDA as most of the current factory facilities are registered in both countries. Prior to his current role at Bento Sushi, Robert was the Food Safety Manager for the Woodbine Entertainment Group where he implemented a food safety program and various control measures to ensure product safety. He also was the plant manager at the Milton Cook Chill facility (Maplehurst Corrections Facility) where it then produced 6000 plus meals daily for inmates as far as Ottawa. He has held numerous Executive Chef roles for a variety of Hotels and Restaurants over the years and continues his passion for food and enjoys that everyday is a new day to learn.
Always lively and engaging, Ms. Maxwell turns conventional wisdom on its ear using comprehensive data that offers a compelling look at new regulatory trends. Her insights are drawn in part from Washington DC colleagues, as well as her global network “cabinet” of industry professionals and the occasional bureaucrat.
Ms. Maxwell’s address comes during a remarkable time in the global food industry’s history. New science underscores the important role food labelling and nutrition initiatives will have on consumer buying habits as well as down-stream legislation. Meanwhile, negative media reports about serious food labelling “shortfalls” have flooded consumers with information while companies and government bodies wrestle with solutions.
Ms. Maxwell is Senior Principal Regulatory Scientist at Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc. where she leads the global regulatory affairs and compliance function. In this role and in conjunction with corporate and partner regulatory colleagues, she leads development of mid- and long-range plan for integration of corporate food safety and regulatory systems with the goal to speak with a single voice throughout the global network of Ocean Spray. Miriam describes her role as managing, motivating, coordinating and influencing multi-disciplinary functions to accomplish the strategic business goals including anticipating regulatory obstacles/emerging issues throughout product lifecycle and developing solutions with others technical/commercial teams across global geographies.
Prior to joining Ocean Spray, Miriam was Manager-Scientific and Regulatory Affairs for Nestle USA with regulatory management responsibility for Nestle Prepared Foods brands and Nestle Professional. Miriam’s global roles included Director-Global Scientific & Regulatory Affairs for Cargill Flavor Systems US LLC (div. of Cargill, Incorporated) and Senior Director of Scientific and Regulatory Affairs for WILD Flavors, Inc. – North America.
Mr. Chinedu Ogbonna is the Regulatory Specialist at Champion Petfoods LP, where he leads global regulatory affairs. In this role, he is responsible for registration of new products, review of marketing claims, managing relationships with regulators and the regulatory compliance of ACANA and ORIJEN brands in seventy-eight countries. Prior to joining Champion Petfoods LP, he was a Regulatory Affairs Associate at Apotex Incorporated and Baxter Corporation. Chinedu has extensive experience in registration of brand and generic pharmaceuticals, biologics, medical devices, natural health products, and pet foods. Preceding a career transition to regulatory affairs in 2005, Mr. Ogbonna was a university lecturer in Medical Microbiology and Immunology with research interests in antibody response to plasmodium antigens and characterization of putative plasmodium antigens using bioinformatics. Chinedu has a Master’s degree in Cellular Parasitology and postgraduate certificates in Regulatory Affairs, Laboratory Quality Management and Infection Control from the University of British Columbia and Humber College, Ontario. He is also a certified member of the Canadian Society of Medical Laboratory Technologists (CSMLS). Chinedu serves on the board of Pet Foods Association of Canada and the regulatory affairs committee of the Pet Foods Institute, USA.
Julie Miguel is a digital content producer with a specialization in food media as well as an active food blogger. The focus of her blog, Daily Tiramisu, is to empower home cooks to be fearless in the kitchen and she does this by taking traditionally difficult recipes and making them easier to execute. Cooking is something that Julie has always been fiercely passionate about. She began cooking after the tragic passing of her Mother at age 15. She is not a trained chef, however, she is a home cook with a lot of real life experience who has trained with many well-known chefs. Julie continues to broaden her culinary experience through her work. In May of 2016, Julie completed a culinary training and Chinese culture program in Suzhou, China.
Julie’s food media career began after she placed 7th on the inaugural season of CTV’s MasterChef Canada. Since then, she started her blog and has made numerous appearances on The Marilyn Denis Show and other National and Local Television channels. Julie continues to make regular appearances as a cooking segment presenter on television as well as hosting live events. She has partnered with many nationally recognized food and lifestyle brands and is the co-founder of Mami Umami, a program aimed at teaching youth life skills in the kitchen. She has grown a significant social media following through her diverse work and continues to find innovative ways to engage her fans.
When she’s not developing recipes for her clients, Julie sits on the Program Advisory Council at Centennial College where she acts as an industry advisor for their Food Media program. She is also the Blog Award Chair for the Taste Canada Awards where she administers the Blog Award and also acts as the webmaster and Taste Canada Cooks the Books Stage Assistant. Her favourite thing to do, besides cooking, is spending time with her husband and two young boys.
Lauren DiMenna is thrilled to be at the forefront of an evolving food industry and regulatory environment, working as the CFIA Lead at Kraft Heinz, the largest food company in Canada. Lauren grew up in Leamington, Ontario and has been immersed in the food industry since a young age, spending many of her childhood days with her grandparents at their vegetable farm and at her father’s tomato processing plant.
She pursued her formal education at the University of Western Ontario and holds a Bachelor of Medical Sciences degree with Honors Specialization in Microbiology and Immunology. Summers off from her university studies were spent as a member of the agriculture research team at the HJ Heinz Company. After completing her degree, Lauren continued the immunology research she undertook for her undergraduate thesis at Robarts Research Institute. She then accepted a position at Campbells officially beginning her career in the food industry.
She joined the HJ Heinz Company in late 2010 and has held various manufacturing quality and corporate quality positions during her tenure. Following the Kraft Heinz merger, she assumed her current role as the CFIA Lead, supporting many Kraft Heinz factories throughout Canada and the US, working closely with both the CFIA and FDA. Lauren is grateful to have a career that allows her to exercise her passions for food,continuous learning, broad thinking, and tackling new challenges.