2024 MCAFDO Conference – Survey Results

What’s your Affiliation?

How many years worked as a food safety professional?

What events did you attend?

Is this your first time attending a MCAFDO Conference?

Did attending the conference also encourage you to attend the Heartland Food Safety Roundtable?

If you attended the Heartland Food Safety Roundtable meeting, was this your first time attending?

Should MCAFDO consider hosting one or more workshops in conjunction with the annual educational conference?

If future workshops are to be held in conjunction with the MCAFDO conference, should the workshop be held?

Would you like MCAFDO to consider hosting workshops, or training events, in different locations within the MCAFDO affiliate region throughout the calendar year?

What types or workshops or trainings would you like MCAFDO to consider hosting, either for future annual educational conferences or throughout the calendar year?

Plan review of facilities both manufacturing and retail.  The separation of manufacturing and retail and how we can bring them together. I see many inspectors running into items being sold with only the name and social media information provided. They/ we are often met with ” if they are not selling wholesale …not our problem”  Hybrid training I guess is what I am getting at.
Food labeling workshop – The workshop could be at least a full day workshop with more in-depth coverage about required elements of food labeling, as well as specifics about voluntary labeling statements/claims.  Food labeling is an issue regulatory personnel will encounter whether conducting retail food inspections or manufactured food inspections.
More information about the specialized credentials.  How to get online CEU’s for Food.
Just attended a great session at InFORM 2024, Environmental Assessment Learning Lab. The focus was not on environmental assessments. It was a workshop about understanding the root cause of an outbreak, how to identify contributing factors, and environmental antecedents. This was developed by CDC NEARS and can be replicated.
I don’t have specific suggestions. Maybe we should develop a survey of possible workshops and send it out? We should include the locals if possible on the survey.
Plumbing – backflow prevention Building HACCP Plans for specialized processes Food trucks Conducting plan reviews
Training for retail side to do mock inspections, products from retail and manufacturing on checking lot numbers. Classes for traceability, compliance and monitoring programs
special processes.
Basic Inspector Training
Special processes and HACCP  Plumbing Report writing Conflict resolution Home based food establishments Cottage foods Retail labeling Common violations and how to gain on site compliance  Shared kitchen guidance Food code and annex review
All tracts were great!  So much helpful information.  I also met so many incredible people who were not afraid to share information!  I don’t care where these conferences are held–but I loved it in Omaha!  Anything involving Cottage Foods would be great.  Thank you for this incredible experience!

Heartland Food safety roundtable and 2024 MCAFDO conference day 1

Please rate the following presentations:

Very GoodGoodFairPoorDid not attendNot Applicable
AFDO Performance Matrix – Steven Mandernach, Executive Director, AFDO15111000
FDA’s food labeling requirements and updates – Lynn Szybist, Director, Division of Food Labeling and Standards (VIRTUAL PRESENTATION)10112310
FBI Outbreak Investigation Process – Thao Schlichte, IA Food Emergency Rapid Response Team Coordinator1692000
Hydroponics: Dual Jurisdiction Challenges – Bart Hawcroft, MO Department of Agriculture Produce Safety1681200
Behavior-based communication skills: A practical approach using DiSC framework – Art Wilson, Executive Business Coach, Gener8tor1655100
Recalls in Retail – Past, Present and Future – Ellen Ciarimboli, Director Hy-Vee Retail Compliance & Food Protection; Kyle Oberender, Director Supply Chain Food Protection & Compliance17100000
Managing Chemical Risks in the Food Supply Chain: An Industry View – Margaret Pandis, Senior Regulatory Affairs Specialist/Toxicologist, ConAgra Brands1960011
State Updates – Unique Regulatory Challenges Panel & Discussion – State Program and Industry Representatives1592001
AFDO State of the Association – Steven Mandernach, Executive Director, AFDO1291032

Please provide comments you wish to communicate regarding speakers and/or presentations for day one:

This was the best conference I have attended! Much appreciated!
Maybe try to keep it a bit upbeat
AFDO Update – Appreciated the interjection of ice breaker jokes for conference participants. This helped to keep the session engaging.  
Freeze Drying – A very relevant topic related to trending processing methods for the cottage food and retail food industries.  Lots of good informative information related to the freeze drying process and potential food safety issues.  Looking forward to using knowledge gained from this session to answer questions from the public sector, as well as food establishment operators, and applying knowledge during regulatory inspections. 
MCAFDO Awards – Good to see so many individuals being recognized for their hard work, contributions, and acheivements.  Hope to continue to see more of the same for next year’s conference.
I think you should have had the State Updates – Unique Regulatory Challenges Panel and Discussion on Day 1 of the Conference (like you had it on the Agenda). People left early and did not get to hear these presentations.
The business meeting could be a little more “formal”. Buit I also understand that we don’t typically have much business to address during that meeting.
Excellent!  Loved the scientific aspect of the fermentation and freeze-drying presentations.  Also liked the inclusion of Produce Safety and Texas’ sense of humor ^_^
The Ag secretary’s presentation seemed out of place
This was my first attendance to MCAFDO but I honestly felt the first day was great.  I thought the timing of the roundtable before the conference was a little confusing.  For those of us not staying on site, we had to choose working a half day and then attending the conference or going to the roundtable.  All of us chose the roundtable.  So, I guess I am suggesting make that part of the conference, not an optional part, if possible.  I would also suggest holding the business meeting and award ceremony maybe at the beginning of the day.
I wanted to attend the Heartland roundtable, but the room was far too full and uninviting. We don’t need an hour on traceability rule at every meeting. Maybe half an hour would be better.
The speakers were well chosen!

2024 MCAFDO conference day 2

Please rate the following presentations:

Very GoodGoodFairPoorDid not attendNot Applicable
Heartland Food Safety Roundtable1162071
Registration Table and Greeting2160000
Call to Order and Welcome – Hunter Galusha, MCAFDO President and Sherry Vinton, NE Department of Agriculture Director1871100
AFDO Update – Katherine Simone, AFDO President, MN Department of Agriculture & Feed Safety1890000
Getting great things out of mixed microbes: Kombucha and others – Heather Hallen-Adams, Associate Professor of Practice, University Nebraska-Lincoln1782000
FSMA Traceability Rule – Melinda Hayman, Consumer Safety Officer, FDA (Virtual Presentation)8145000
Freeze Drying and Potential Food Safety Challenges – Mary-Grace Danao, Research Associate Professor, University Nebraska-Lincoln2511000
The Produce Safety Rule as it Applies to the Food Chain – Rene Nieto, TX Department of Agriculture; Justin McConaghy, OK Department of Agriculture12103200
MCAFDO Awards Ceremony & Awards Presentations11103030
MCAFDO Business Meeting7104051

Please provide comments you wish to communicate regarding speakers and/or presentations for day Two:

The panel discussion felt like statements and no discussion  I would have liked more time for the performance matrix and behavior based communication
Day #2 topics – lots of good content and great speakers.  
Food labeling – Really wished this could have been an in-person presentation.  The content was good, but food labeling is such a complex issue.  Would have appreciated some additional examples (pictatorial or verbal) when describing required labeling content.  Overall, a very good presentation.
Hydroponics – Bart is a great presenter.  Appreciated the examples of different types of hydroponics set-ups.  A very informative presentation.  
Behavior based communication skills – Appreciated that Art was an engaging and dynamic presenter.  Soft skills are something every regulatory official needs when dealing with the public, or colleagues for that matter.  Observe, Repeat, Adjust is the acronym I remember from this presentation.  
Recalls/Hy-Vee: Interesting to hear the recall process perspective from an industry partner.  Hy-Vee has a significant presence in the MCAFDO affiliate region.  
Managing Chemical Risks: Great information.  Appreciated hearing the challenges that industry partners face when dealing with suppliers and sourcing materials. 
State Updates: Wished additional time could have been alloted for this subject.  I believe many of the MCAFDO affiliate states and/or local health jurisdictions have interesting information to share.
Exceeded my expectations.  All info presented was very relevant, and I appreciated the inclusion of industry and was interested in their perspectives.  Love hearing about growing techniques and peoples’ behavior and communication styles.
The venue was great!  And the food, snacks, and drinks were well planned and executed.  Great food.  I would build in maybe a stand-up break between the speakers.  Maybe not a fifteen minute break but maybe an activity (voluntary participation) to keep us alert.
Goodness gracious the labeling presentation was dense. I don’t know what the speakers could have done to make it engaging given the subject matter, but it was a tough hour. All of the non-regulatory speakers were engaging and had interesting presentations.
When the speaker is virtual, make the presentation full screen.
The Communication skills was surprisingly good and useful to me.
All were great!

conference Others

Do you use pre-approved NEHA continuing education credits?

Are you are likely to attend the MCAFDO conference if pre-approved NEHA continuing education credits are offered/available?

Did you receive a “save the date” announcement regarding the conference/Heartland Food Safety Roundtable?

How did you hear about the conference/Heartland Food Safety Roundtable?

Was information on the conference, website, clear, concise, and or helpful?

Was registration for the conference completed by you, or another individual on your behalf?

Did you receive a copy of the electronically generated billing invoice once registration was completed?

Did you receive a copy of the Billing invoice showing settlement of payment?

Did you experience difficulties with the registration process?

Provide feed related to difficulties you experience with the registration process:

NONE Add choice N/A other registered for
For the most part all of the presentations were excellent.
I wish the “my agency is paying” option would have been easier to find. But otherwise it was very easy to register.
The only thing I missed was information about parking at the conference–but it was self evident once we got there.

Did you experience difficulties with the process of payment?

Please describe any difficulties you experience with the payment process:

NONE  Make choice of Other Paid for
Unclear on where to send payment

Please describe suggestions. You might have for improvement of the payment process:


What part conference was most valuable to you?

I enjoyed the opportunity to meet those in various disciplines of food safety.
Freeze drying talk
Every presentation of the conference was very valuable to me, but if I had to select the top five, they would be: Freeze Drying, Fermentation, Hydroponics, Recalls and Labeling
Presentations on Freeze drying, fermentation, food labeling, and communication behavior skills.
Getting great things out of mixed microbes: Kombucha and others.
All useful and timely topics. It is a great wat to network with other agencies and make the connections for information sharing.
Networking, presentations were very good this year and covered a variety of topics.
Technical knowledge (special processes, labeling, growing techniques etc) and industry perspectives on recalls, traceability, challenges with workforce shortages and navigating the increasing complexity of regulatory requirements.  Behavior and communication.  Relationship between Retail, Manufacturing and Produce Safety Rule.
Also, the lunch at the Scott Conference Center was awesome!  Yum!
round table and panel discussion
freeze drying was valuable
FDA’s food labeling  Managing chemical risks Freeze Drying
This was a great conference! From the round table discussion to the last presentation.
Heartland round table
Extended break times to meet with people I don’t see often
AFDO Performance Matrix
State updates – sharing existing and emerging issues
It was all applicable
Loved the part about freeze drying and the Hy-Vee people.  So interesting!

What part of the Conference was least valuable to you?

Over all I enjoyed the conference. maybe the passing of the torch so to speak I think I would have liked to heard  a bit more from past president and the new president.
Really thought all of the conference content and subjects were valuable.
FSMA Traceability Rule
Business meeting.
The business meeting 😛
Business meetings and communication discussion
Since I just became a member, I wasnt sure how the award ceremony would work.
hyrdroponics course. i just didnt feel like he really imparted any information to us.
A lot of manufactured food presentations.
FSMA traceability rule

What topic or speakers would you suggest for the next conference?

High Pressure Processing (HPP)
I would be interested in hearing a lawyer’s perspective or final rulings from the courts on legal outcomes related to foodborne outbreaks where injury or death resulted from contaminated food.
HACCP and juicing HACCP and meat processing
How the FDA manages the food vendors at large events like the Superbowl.
Hemp in food and regulations, cottage food, home/residential food regulations and investigations.
Managing traceability and recalls using AI.
aquaculture/hydroponic industry side, more unique manufacturing/industry sides
Continue produce safety group, though would like to attend round table also
Continue with the non-regulatory and special process speakers. Those are interesting to learn about.
Plant based foods
Not sure at this time

What we feel this conference could be improved?

There was hair in the food … several items
Have each State bring something for the Silent Auction.
This year there was not really a social event like previous years. Might be a good idea to try to include again on the future agenda to facilitate networking opportunities or have longer breaks that encourages networking.
I think it is a great conference every year!
Invite each agency in attendance to “ask” the group for a resource they really need.
For example… Nebraska needs a risk-based inspection SOP, and we don’t have time to start from scratch.  I did find a couple of states who seemed willing to send me theirs, but it took some legwork, and it was awkward.  I may have gotten better information more quickly if I had been invited to announce it.
more active presentations, more hands on or participative
I would love to see the PowerPoint slides be available whenever possible.  So much information to take in and it would be nice to be able to go back and reference what we learned.
Add polling to presentations
Presentations could be shorter and breaks could be longer. Make the hour-long presentations 45 minutes and make the 15 minute breaks 20-30.
Too much sitting.
Not sure at this time
It was great–the meeting rooms, the food, the speakers.  All great!

Which Factors most influence your decision to attend the conference?

Which factors most influenced your decision to attend the MCAFDO Annual Educational Conference?

Very GoodGoodFairPoorDid Not UseNot Applicable
Lodging at the Residence Inn531099
Lodging at the Courtyard Inn2320911
Lunch provided at the Scott Conference Center2030112
Food, Snacks, & Beverages for Breaks1770012

Which factors most influenced your decision to attend the MCAFDO Annual Educational Conference?

Strongly InfluencedSomewhat InfluencedNo Influence
Hotel Lodging Rate4518
Conference Registration Cost4716
Conference Location1746
Conference Agenda/Topics1863
Conference Speakers/Presenters1656
Professional Development Opportunities1791
Networking with Peers2061
Agency Travel Restrictions and/or Mandates9315
Travel Cost Reimbursement Opportunity5319

What other recommendations would you like to suggest for future MCAFDO conferences?

Getting the word out…I had not heard of this conference prior to attending it
The food was awesome! Very much appreciated. 
The toilets were short (LOL)
Keep providing lunch!  And drinks, snacks.  Love not having to choose where to go or travel during the lunch hour.  Want to eat on-site with peers.
small breakfast snacks to go with the coffee, donuts, bagels, even fruit in the mornings
Room was a little wider than ideal but the facility was very nice. Good location also.
Great work by the Board and Planning Committee!
Best Secretary/Treasurer ever!