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Driving Innovation and Growth
The Opportunities & Challenges of Expanding Food Imports to the U.S.



Reservations Required:        

March 1, 2012

8:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
230 South LaSalle Street
Chicago, IL  60604
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Follow the event on Twitter at #GMAFood 


​Even though the United States remains mired in difficult economic circumstances, the opportunity to expand imports of food into the nation is growing. The needs of different ethnic communities, the desire for fresh organic produce all year round and even the simple demands of a growing population mean that the U.S. will have to rely even more on imported foods.

However, importing food is not easy. Finding distributors and retail customers remain as obstacles. Tariffs and customs still exist for many countries, even with the increasing numbers of Free Trade Agreements. The greatest upcoming challenge are the yet-to-be-introduced rules of the Food Safety Modernization Act.

This informative and interactive seminar, held in a central point for the distribution of food across the U.S., will bring together foreign exporters and domestic importers; buyers, purchasing agents and procurement management from a range of food processing companies; regulators at local, state and federal levels; and a broad array of groups with an interest in expanding the international food trade.


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Featuring Keynote Speaker
Dr. Robert E. Brackett, Vice President and Director
The Institute for Food Safety and Health at the Illinois Institute of Technology
This is the first program in the 2012 Global Midwest Alliance Food Industry and Technology Series.​

Freeborn & Peters is a 120-attorney Chicago-based law firm, dedicated to providing boardroom level counsel to clients who benefit from the firm’s longtime commitment to the highest levels of responsiveness and individual attention. From its Chicago headquarters, the firm has a global reach, representing the interests of clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to small businesses and individuals in major centers of commerce and industry throughout the world. In a time of lowered borders and expanding markets, Freeborn & Peters continues its legacy of developing innovative legal and business strategies to help its clients maintain sustainable competitive advantages.

Global Midwest Alliance is a business-led, region-wide organization dedicated to transforming the Midwest into an internationally recognized leader in innovation and business growth. The Alliance aligns and integrates resources throughout the Midwest helping businesses to grow by leveraging existing resources to develop new products and find customers throughout the world. The Alliance is the Private Sector Liaison Office for the World Bank and a member of Global CONNECT. Through these and other affiliations, the Alliance facilitates access to global business opportunities for Midwest business. The Alliance offers educational and networking opportunities through a variety of programs and resources designed to promote innovation, technology development and access to global opportunities in the clean technology, energy, food, logistics, manufacturing and water industries.
7:30 a.m. - 8:00 a.m.

8:00 a.m. - 8:05 a.m.

8:05 a.m. - 8:45 a.m.

8:45 a.m - 9:30 a.m.

9:30 a.m. - 9:45 a.m.

9:45 a.m. - 10:15 a.m.

10:15 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
Registration, Continental Breakfast and Networking

Welcome & Introduction

Keynote Presentation: How Importers Can Prepare for the Impact of the Food Safety Modernization Act 
Dr. Robert E. Brackett, Vice President and Director, The Institute for Food Safety and Health at the Illinois Institute of Technology

"Opportunity" Panel Discussion: Market for Food Imports to the U.S. 
  A recent study by economists at USDA describes the rapidly changing food market in the US: "Globalization and evolving consumer demand have contributed to an increasing inflow of U.S. food imports, which have been particularly rapid for consumer-ready foods. As Americans become better educated, wealthier and more ethnically diverse, they are increasingly demanding more diverse, convenient and healthful foods." Knowledgeable professionals drawn from very different parts of the food supply chain will explore these trends and the best paths for exploiting them for commercial advantage.

David Oppedahl, Business Economist, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago 

Neil Cox, Country Manager, Irish Dairy Board USA
Pamela Shields, Experienced Industry Executive and former General Manager, Menu Inspirations
Nicholas Spencer, CEO, Spencer's Jolly Posh Foods

Coffee and Networking Break

Industry Update The FDA's Food Safety Pilot Program: Meeting the Challenge of Traceability
Tejas Bhatt, Staff Scientist, The Institute of Food Technologists 

"Challenges" Panel Discussion: Overcoming Business and Legal Issues in Food Imports
If you have not yet exported to or imported into the U.S.,  overcoming the barriers to trade can appear overwhelming. Even if you have been trading for some time, the U.S. regulatory picture will be changing so rapidly and so dramatically in the coming years, it may soon appear quite different. A panel of industry, government and other experts will discuss the issues exporters/importers to the U.S. will be facing in the very near future, as well as review the many sources of information available to those who want to reap the benefits of international commerce.  

Michael A. Moynihan, Leader of the Food Industry Team, Co-Managing Partner, Freeborn & Peters 

Gene W. Cahill, Director, Forensic Accounting and Investigative Services Practice, Grant Thornton
Dr. Gillian Dagan, Chief Scientific Officer, ABC Research Corporation
Scott MacIntire, District Director, Food & Drug Administration
Steve A. Mange, Senior Counsel, Freeborn & Peters
Geoffrey Mills, Managing Director, Product Recall Practice, Marsh Global Risk Management 

All participants at this event are also invited to visit the Institute for Food Safety and Health, hosted by our keynote speaker Robert E. Brackett , Ph.D., ice President and Director of the Institute.

To register for free go to:

The Institute for Food Safety and Health encompasses four primary Research Centers, including:

  •   The National Center for Food Safety and Technology
  •   The Center for Nutrition Research
  •   The Center for Processing Innovation
  •   The Center for Specialty Program

It is also the focus of food-related teaching at IIT.