Inaugural ADM Food Safety Summit offers outlook on emerging tools for Food Safety in Nigeria and Africa

Inaugural ADM Food Safety Summit offers outlook on emerging tools for Food Safety in Nigeria and Africa

When ADM Global Director of Food Safety Adeniyi Odugbemi, Ph.D., was having a conversation with the ADM Human Nutrition team about their engagement in the Nigeria market, the topic of food safety and quality was a key talking point among their customers. Understanding the importance of this subject, Odugbemi and his colleagues felt it was vital to bring the discussion to the forefront by launching their first food safety summit in Nigeria.

Following a planning process that only took 60 days, ADM's Quality and Food Safety Center of Excellence, in collaboration with the Human Nutrition business unit in Nigeria, hosted the conference on Oct. 28, 2022, in Ikeja, Lagos, themed "Unlocking Nature and Enriching Lives Through Food Safety."

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"The idea for the conference was intended for our current and potential customers, and to tell them the beautiful things we do and how we are leading the industry," Odugbemi said.

The conference welcomed an attendance of almost 200 guests, including government officials, regulatory agencies, members of higher education, as well as key players in the food and beverage industry in Nigeria. The conference served as a networking opportunity for individuals across the food supply chain to discuss the future of food safety in Nigeria and across Africa.

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"Everything was centralized around the future of food safety in Nigeria and Africa – understanding that food safety and quality becomes the tool," Odugbemi said. "We welcomed in a great group of speakers from in and out of Nigeria to come talk to us about how can we use food safety and quality to improve the lives of our people – following the mantra of ADM that we are unlocking nature to enrich lives."

Odugbemi served as the keynote speaker, addressing the audience on food safety tools and the secret to enhancing global food trade. The idea behind the keynote address was to offer insight into the convergence of food around the world.

"What is the one thing that is applicable to food as it goes around? It is food safety," Odugbemi said. "Price is important, but one thing everybody cares about is the safety of the food. In these times, are consumers willing to pay more money to get the best quality product? My discussion was centered on how we can use food safety and quality as the tool that supports the global movement of food around the world."

Paul Matthias, director of beverage sales, and Kurban Erdal, vice president of flavors sales for ADM's EMEAI region, welcomed the participants to the conference and reiterated ADM's commitment to building a meaningful relationship with the food and beverage sector of Nigeria. In his welcome address, Elom Weti, sales director, showed his appreciation to the attendees and discussed how the conference is providing a platform where ADM can showcase its products to the industry, government and other stakeholders in Nigeria.

Additional presenters included Gerald H. Smith, Ph.D., of the United States Embassy in Nigeria who presented on behalf of the United States consulate in Nigeria. Yanyan Huang, Ph.D., Global Quality laboratory director, and Lee Perry, vice president, Quality and Food Safety at ADM, addressed the audience on strengthening partnerships to enable innovation and sustainability in quality and food safety across the global value chain. Dirk Schweikert, Quality and Food Safety director for ADM's EMEAI region, also presented on the spotlight tools of Food Safety and Quality.

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"We are all responsible for food safety, plant integrity and providing high-quality products and services," said Perry. "We take great pride in the fact that we provide our customers, consumers, families and pets with safe and quality products that consistently exceed expectations."

The conference also offered a spotlight on ADM's product portfolio as well as collaboration opportunities with influencers in the Nigerian food sphere, exemplifying the best-in-class food safety culture of ADM to the Nigerian market.

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Moving forward, Odugbemi is enthusiastic about working with his colleagues on future conferences and showcasing the passion for quality and food safety around the world.

"From a location standpoint, it was very important to introduce ourselves to the market, to create awareness and to showcase the ADM product line and what we will bring to the market," Odugbemi said. "There are a lot of opportunities for the company as a whole to grow in Africa."