Jul 25, 2023
PTNPA hosts 2023 Operations and Technical Food Safety Summit

National and international nut industry leaders convened for the Peanut and Tree Nut Processors Association’s (PTNPA) annual Operations and Technical Food Safety Summit, which was held June 27-28 in Chicago, Illinois.

Now in its eighth year, the summit brings together business owners and operators and food safety, quality assurance and regulatory experts in the nut industry from across the globe to hold critical discussions that drive food safety advancement in businesses of all sizes. Facilitated, interactive sessions focused on current regulations and practices for compliance, company success stories and challenges, food safety investment impacts, and more. As the nut industry’s only food safety educational forum, this event is a unique and valuable opportunity to tackle ongoing challenges to directly contribute to safe and stable food systems.PTNPA is the Peanut and Tree Nut Processors Association

“The landscape for food safety is ever-growing and expanding—it’s more valuable than ever for industry thought-leaders to ideate on the topics presented at the summit,” shares Dr. Darlene Cowart, vice president of food safety and quality for Birdsong Peanuts. “Hearing directly from experts on key food safety topics as well as business leaders in every aspect of the organization is so important in the current food safety environment. What a great opportunity to learn and network with some of the world’s most talented food safety professionals.”

Polling results

PTNPA conducted anonymous, real-time polling during the summit and attendee participation identified important themes:

An Integrated Business Unit Approach

A majority of organizations proactively educate financial, maintenance and inventory teams on what it means to operate in a culture of food safety.

Training Is a Priority

Nearly 89% of companies conduct food safety trainings at least once a year across departments.

Emotionally Intelligent Leaders Stand Out

Strong communication and collaboration skills were rated the most critical leadership factors needed when working to prevent food safety risks or deficiencies in the market.

The Bottom Line — Value of Food Safety Cultures Reigns

Creating a culture of food safety emerged as a key topic of importance, with 94% of attendees indicating it as a priority for operations now and in the future.


Speaker biographies and session topics are available PTNPA’s website. Presentations were led, moderated and hosted by industry experts from PTNPA member companies:

  • Michael Campagna, vice president of quality, food safety and regulatory
  • Dr. Yvonne Masters, director of food safety and quality policy
  • Jasper Sanfilippo, Jr., COO,  John B. Sanfilippo & Son, Inc.
  • Dulce Guzman, director of food safety and QA, Arway Confections
  • Craig Leva, CEO and owner, Arway Confections
  • Suzanne Chamberland, food safety manager, Totally Nuts & More Inc.
  • Gaby Chavarria, quality and food safety manager, Harris Woolf Almonds
  • Erin Clem, director of food safety and quality, Diamond Foods
  • Dr. Darlene Cowart, vice president of food safety and quality, Birdsong Peanuts
  • Martin Hahn, general counsel, Hogan Lovells
  • John Larsen, president, Marathon Ventures, Inc.
  • Angelo Losurdo, vice president of quality and quality systems, Golden Peanut
  • Dr. Wendy Maduff, vice president of corporate food safety and quality, The Wonderful Company
  • Stephen O’Mara, president, J.F. Braun & Sons, Inc.
  • Eric Paskerian, principle and owner, WEP Engineering and Consulting Co.
  • Joel Perkins, CEO, Horizon Nut Co.
  • Randy Porter, vice president of technical services, IEH Laboratories & Consulting Group.

“We’re so proud of our industry and its commitment to innovation in a very rugged regulatory environment,” shares Jeannie Shaughnessy, executive director and CEO of PTNPA. “Our members are experts who are eager to collaborate for the advancement of the industry with a focus on measurable food safety investments in their businesses.”

During the summit, PTNPA continued to expand the forward-thinking Industry Handbook for Safe Processing of Nuts with the launch of a new section focused on food safety best practices for importers and brokers. The handbook provides companies with guidance on day-to-day safety operations, company training protocols, employee onboarding, and regulatory guidance.

About the Peanut and Tree Nut Processors Association

The Peanut and Tree Nut Processors Association, established in 1939, is composed of leading nut industry companies, representatives and solution providers, ranging from international household brands to fourth-generation family-owned businesses. The organization exists to advance the nut industry through professional networks, advocacy and education for and on behalf of its members. For more information, visit ptnpa.org.

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