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.
Dr. Donald E. Buckingham is the President and CEO of The Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute (CAPI), as of July 1, 2017. He has been a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada since 1988. In his career, he acted as a private lawyer, government lawyer, law professor, author and consultant in the areas of agricultural law, food law and international trade in agricultural products. Dr. Buckingham’s previous roles include Chair of the Canada Agricultural Review Tribunal. He also worked as Legal Counsel at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC). Dr. Buckingham taught courses as a law professor at three universities and conducted research on agriculture law, food law, constitutional law, administrative law, international law and tort law. For the past three decades, Dr. Buckingham also provided legal counsel to both federal ministers and civil servants grappling with legislative and regulatory matters in the industry, as well as being a lawyer with the Halifax firm of Patterson Kitz.
Dr. Richard Arsenault is the executive director of the Domestic Food Safety Systems Directorate at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).
Dr. Arsenault began his food safety career as a veterinary meat inspector in 1989. He has been an auditor, a manager, and the Director of the meat hygiene program, and was involved in many significant Canadian food safety events over the past 25 years.
Dr. Arsenault leads the CFIA team that is finalizing the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations and its coming-into-force strategy. His team also works on modernizing Canada’s meat inspection and on-farm food safety programs.
Dr. Arsenault has worked throughout his career to improve food safety in Canada and facilitate the international trade of food products under Codex Alimentarius principles. He is currently the representative for North America on the Codex alimentarius Executive Committee and the representative for Canada at the Codex Commission.
Vincent Strickland is the Compliance Coordinator at Pfenning’s Organic Vegetables Inc., where he manages their food safety and organic certifications. His passion for organics grew over time, starting with his education in biotechnology and food science, and fueled by a strong interest in sustainability and social justice. Working at the nexus of food safety and organics gives him a unique perspective on how regulatory regimes can ensure a safe and healthy food system.
Winnie Chiu is an experienced food scientist with over 25 years of research and development experience in both consumer packaged foods and the flavour ingredient business. Over her tenure at George Brown, she led dozens of research projects with private companies and the healthcare sector; these encompass both product commercialization and healthy recipes development, offering unique and valuable hands on experience for students.
She led her team on projects for organizations such as Sobeys Inc., General Mills Canada, Smucker’s Canada, Princess Margaret Hospital, St. Michael’s Hospital, Ronald McDonald House and enabling many small medium size entrepreneurial companies to commercialize innovative products. Prior to George Brown College, Winnie worked for MARS Incorporated and two internationally renowned ingredients company. Winnie received a B. Sc. (Hon) from the University Of Westminster (U.K.) and subsequently gained her M. Sc. in Food and Management Science from King’s College at the University of London (U.K).
Susan Abel is the Vice President Safety and Compliance for Food & Consumer Products of Canada where she works closely with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Health Canada, and Environment Canada on diverse activities such as regulatory change and safe chemicals management on behalf of FCPC’s members. She has been with FCPC for over six years. While at FCPC she has spoken at various venues, in Canada and internationally on topics as diverse as supply chains in the food industry, allergen management, Smartlabel™, and food regulations. In addition to her role at FCPC, Susan is also co-chair of the Canadian Supply Chain Food Safety Coalition.
Prior to her tenure at FCPC, Susan worked for 25 years in food manufacturing in Canada, primarily in Product Development and Quality/Regulatory roles for the Breakfast Cereal Industry as well product development with the Dairy Industry. In her Quality/Regulatory role in a North American context, she oversaw the development of HACCP programs including prerequisite programs, real-time trace forward and trace backward systems, real-time laboratory data collection systems, and third party audits including NSF, GFSI/BRC, and GMA-SAFE. Susan was also very active with testing and monitoring mycotoxins in cereal grains, and created gluten-free production and testing protocols for a facility which primarily processed wheat-based products.
Susan graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Agriculture, with a major in Dairy Science, from the University of Guelph.
She manages the agency’s representation and positions at international standard setting bodies, such as the Codex Alimentarius Commission, and its various Committees, and engages with foreign governments on emergency notifications and systems recognition.
DeWaal is the former director of the food safety program for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, and co-author of Is Our Food Safe? A Consumer’s Guide to Protecting Your Health and the Environment (Three Rivers Press, 2002). Ms. DeWaal has testified more than 20 times as a food safety expert before the United States Congress. She has presented papers on food safety at more than 100 scientific and public policy conferences and regularly publishes in scientific and legal journals. She has participated in World Health Organization consultations on food safety, and on FDA, USDA, and CDC food safety advisory panels.
She is a graduate of the University of Vermont and of Antioch School of Law.
Dr. Patrizia Barone is the Regional Regulatory Affairs Vice President at Unilever, leading the strategic regulatory activities for the North American region and Global Foods & Refreshment categories. Before joining Unilever, Patrizia held positions at Reckitt Benckiser, initially as Vice President of R&D for North America. She moved to Australia to head the Asia Pacific & South Asia R&D Laboratory, and upon her return held positions culminating as Global R&D Category Group Director - Regulatory Affairs & R&D Systems, responsible for product safety and regulatory strategies for all products globally. Earlier, Patrizia worked with Colgate-Palmolive and Miles, Inc. Household Products Division, a division of Bayer AG.
Patrizia has a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from the University of Maryland College Park and a Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry from Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.
Andrea received her Bachelor of Science specializing in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Guelph. She joined Campbell Company of Canada in 2009 and currently manages the Canadian Regulatory Affairs/Nutrition team supporting brands such as Campbell’s® Pepperidge Farm® Pace® Prego®and V8® Prior to joining Campbell, Andrea worked at Sobeys providing regulatory and nutrition expertise for their private label business. She was involved in the launch of over 2,000 products and 4 different sub-brands including Organic, Balance (better-for-you products) and Greencare (eco-friendly household products). She began her career as a QA and Consumer Affairs Specialist at Olivieri Foods, a manufacturer of fresh pasta and sauces. Andrea is active in a number of nutrition and regulatory committees within industry including the Food & Consumer Products of Canada and the Canadian Association of Importers & Exporters.
Dr. Michelle Illing joined the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) in 2004, where she has held a number of positions and is currently the Director of the Animal Feed Division. She has worked on a range of regulatory and policy files at the CFIA, including: animal biotechnology; biosecurity; livestock feed; and animal health programs. Prior to joining the CFIA, Dr. Illing spent 3 years working as a project manager at Ingenuity Systems, a biotechnology company in California. She joined Ingenuity Systems after completing a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University in neuronal research. Dr. Illing has a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of British Columbia. She also has a M.Sc. in Biology and a Honours B.Sc. in Biology and Biotechnology from Carleton University.
Jeff Howard is the North American Quality Assurance Operations Supervisor for Gordon Food Service.
Gordon Food Service is the largest family operated distributor in North America, a business started in 1897. We operate eight divisions coast-to-coast across Canada and 16 distribution centers in the U.S.
Jeff has over 30 years of Quality Assurance management experience at Gordon Food Service developing, implementing and advancing quality, food safety and regulatory compliance programs for U.S. and Canadian operations.
In his current role, he is responsible for leading and performing a number of key duties critical to ensuring Operations compliance to regulatory, customer and internal quality and food safety expectations. He also acts as primary conduit between Gordon Food Service Quality Assurance, distribution center operations, and customers, supporting programs to meet customers’ quality and food safety-related standards.
Jeff recently helped their U.S. Operations with the development and implementation of programs to comply with the U.S. FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act, and has been actively involved in similar activities with their Canadian Operations in preparation for the Safe Food for Canadians Act.
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.