Food Safety & Quality Assurance

Share information and best practices to keep your company, customers and food supply safe.


About the Food Safety & Quality Assurance Executive Study Group

Come together with experienced food safety and quality assurance professionals from national restaurant brands at the annual Food Safety & Quality Assurance Executive Study Group Conference, held this year at Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, FL October 9-11.

The Food Safety & Quality Assurance Executive Study Group offers you the opportunity to learn the latest on FDA insights, food safety regulations, foodborne illness, health inspections and allergens. Don’t miss your chance to talk through issues and learn directly from other food safety and quality assurance leaders in the restaurant industry.

Attendance Policy

Registration is open to restaurant operators and those who work for restaurant or hospitality companies. Product and service providers are allowed to attend only as sponsors. Questions? Contact Mick Miklos, Food Safety & Quality Assurance Program Director.


We are pleased to accept nominations for our first annual Outstanding Food Safety Leader Award, presented by the National Restaurant Association Food Safety & Quality Assurance Executive Study Group and Ecolab. This award recognizes achievement and leadership in the field of food safety and/or quality assurance. Nominations and applications are due by Sept. 13. Learn more and nominate or apply here.



Wednesday, October 9
12 p.m.: Lunch and Sponsor Introductions
1 p.m.: Welcome and Introductions 
Christina Bongo-Box, Vice President Global Procurement, Little Caesars Enterprises
Ralph Iglesias, Sr. Director of Food Safety, Training & Brand Compliance, Sizzler USA, Inc.
Mick Miklos, Program Director, Member Engagement, National Restaurant Association
Horace Dawson, Executive Vice President & General Counsel, Red Lobster & National Restaurant Association Board Member
Geoff Luebkemann, Senior Vice President, Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association

1:45 p.m.: Keynote: New Thinking, Innovation & Collaboration to Prevent Foodborne Disease Illnesses Caused by Restaurants 
Discover ideas that all restaurants can implement now to reduce food safety risk in their operations while providing a forum to share new ideas that can be developed into new intervention strategies so that together the restaurant industry can significantly reduce foodborne disease illnesses in the United States. 
Speaker: Hal King, CEO & Founder, Public Health Innovation, LLC 

3 p.m.: Networking Break

3:30 p.m.: Best Practices in Food Safety Panel
Ralph Iglesias, Sr. Director of Food Safety, Training and Brand Compliance, Sizzler USA, Inc. 

Panelists: Mary Ann Straten, Senior Manager, Brand Protection, Quality and Regulatory Compliance, Denny's; and Vicki Griffith, Vice President, Quality Assurance & Purchasing, Farmers Restaurant Group

4:45 p.m.: Closing Remarks and Raffle Drawing

5:30 p.m.: Tour of UCF Rosen College of Hospitality Management

6:45 p.m.: Welcome Reception 

7:15 p.m.: Dinner on Your Own

Thursday, October 10
7:30 a.m.: Breakfast 
8:30 a.m.: The "Tonight Show" with the FDA
Dennis Price, Director, Total Quality & Food Safety, Red Lobster & Glenda Lewis, Director of the Retail Food Protection Staff in FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition

9 a.m.: GFSI Accreditation for 3rd Party Food Service Audits
During this session, you'll learn the process of creating a new standard from inception to implementation of the Foodservice Food Safety Code, discover the pros and cons of third party accreditation, and hear an update on the latest from GFSI.
Speaker: Frank Schreurs, President, The FJS Consulting Group - Food Industry Experts
9:45 a.m.: Networking Break 

10:15 a.m.: Leafy Greens -- Restoring Trust and Advancing Practices 
Discover what steps the industry is taking to prevent contamination, improve traceability, implement origin labeling and improve collaboration in the investigative process.
Speaker: Jennifer McEntire, Ph.D., Vice President Food Safety & Technology, United Fresh Produce Association

11 a.m.: Measuring Your Firm's Pest Culture 
Do you have a comprehensive handle on your firm's culture, when it comes to pests? Chris Del Rossi, Managing Director of IPM Coaching, hopes to enlighten you on a way to effectively and consistently better manage your company's pest culture. Chris' presentation will be rooted in practical methods of managing your establishments in a more preventive way, from a high level, corporate view and culture. 
Speaker: Chris Del Rossi, Founder & Managing Director, Food and Drug and The Bug

11:30 a.m.: Hot Topics Roundtables

12 p.m.: Lunch 

1 p.m.: Hidden Restaurant Sanitation Inspection Results: A Weekday and Monthly Examination of Reported Data
How time affects the view of sanitation inspection results, particularly how weekly and monthly analysis of data on restaurant sanitation inspection results can show a better picture of weaknesses and trends in the performance of restaurants, than when the data is presented in aggregated form. 
Speaker: Jorge Ridderstaat, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, University of Central Florida Rosen College of Hospitality Management 

2 p.m.: Communicable Diseases and How to Respond to Outbreaks
2019 has been marked by outbreaks of an unusually broad range of communicable diseases from measles and mumps to nearly epidemic Hep A case counts. These are diseases that are not typically transmitted through food handling. However, these outbreaks have dramatically impacted restaurants and foodservice providers nationwide as health departments make public announcements, require employee vaccination records and demand detailed rosters and work schedules. Roslyn Stone, MPH will provide an overview of what's happening and discuss how you can be prepared to respond if or when an employee or guest exposure occurs. 
Speaker: Roslyn Stone, Chief Operating Officer, Zero Hour Health - A Corporate Wellness Company

3 p.m.: Networking Break
3:30 p.m. State and Local Inspections and Investigations: From Relationships to the CSI of Food Safety 
Recent developments with whole genome sequencing, use of environmental sampling is becoming more routine at the retail, and enhanced investigative techniques have increased the likely of linking an outbreak to an establishment even though the food no longer exists. 
Steve Mandernach, JD, Executive Director, Association of Food and Drug Officials 
Melanie Harris, MPA, Rapid Response Team Coordinator, Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals 
Adam Kramer, ScD, MPH, RS, Environmental Officer, Center for Disease Control and Prevention  
4:30 p.m.: Food Safety & Quality Assurance Executive Study Group's Outstanding Food Safety Leader Award - Sponsored by Ecolab
4:45 p.m.: Closing Remarks and Raffle Drawing 

5 p.m.: Dinner on Your Own
Friday, October 11
6 a.m.: AM Run/Walk 
Start your morning with a run/walk through Orlando 
Christina Bong-Box, Vice President, Global Procurement, Little Caesars
Dennis Price, Director, Total Quality and Food Safety, Red Lobster

7:30 a.m. Breakfast 

8:30 a.m.: Food Safety and Quality Assurance Business Meeting
Business meeting for operators only 
9:30 a.m.: Why is My Food Touching? Phobias, halos, and what it means for packaging and delivery
As the use of delivery services continue to rise, the packaging of "to go" food is at the heart of operator concerns associated with costs and loss of control over product quality. This project explores these questions and studies how consumers perceive and prioritize "to go" food quality and the delivery experience based on packaging.
Speakers: Marissa Orlowski, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, University of Central Florida Rosen College of Hospitality Management and Dr. Sarah LeFebvre, Assistant Professor, Murray State University
10:30 a.m.: Networking Break

10:45 a.m.: FSMA Compliance and the Benefits to Food Quality Through Ozone Intervention from Field to Fork
Ozone can be used in every production, transportation and processing step in the food chain, as well as sanitizing environmental contamination from the likes of a norovirus incident. Existing and developing protocols will be described and discussed for the greatest possible compliance with FSMA. 
Speakers: Dennis Harp, Director of Food Science and Compliance, Quail Systems & Robert Smith, President & General Manager, Tennessee Innovative Products

11:30 a.m.: Hot Topics Roundtables 

12 p.m.: Conference Wrap-up, Sponsor Relay and Raffle Drawing


Early-Bird Rate (through August 28, 2019) 
National Restaurant Association Member*: $400
National Restaurant Association Non-Member*: $700
Regular Rate (starting August 29, 2019)
National Restaurant Association Member*: $499

National Restaurant Association Non-Member*: $799

*Not sure if you're on the company roster? Contact to ensure your name and email address is tied to your company roster to receive the member rate.

Operator cancellation policy: Cancellations received by August 21, 2019 will be fully refunded. Cancellations between August 22 and September 19 will be assessed a 50% administration fee. Cancellations after September 19, 2019 will not receive a refund.

Conference Hotel

The conference is being held at:
Rosen Shingle Creek 
9939 Universal Blvd
Orlando, FL 32819
(866) 996-6338 
Room rate: $189/night + tax (note: deposit of one night's room & tax will be charged to your credit card five days prior to your arrival)
Room block closes: Tuesday, September 17, 2019 (6 p.m. ET)

Registration for the conference does not guarantee you a room reservation; you are still required to make your own reservation via your registration confirmation email. Please register for the conference before you make your room reservation.


If you are a product or service provider, you must sponsor the conference in order to attend. For available sponsorship opportunities, contact Mia Roberts, Director of Sponsorship and Member Engagement.