Livestreaming Each Month 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.  EST

Debra Miller

May 11, 2021

Debra L. Miller, PhD, National Confectioners Association

Debra L. Miller, PhD is the senior vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs at the National Confectioners Association, where she is responsible for technical leadership on labeling, food safety and other food policies and regulations. She also serves as staff lead for NCA’s Chocolate Council. Dr. Miller also leads NCA’s nutrition and food policy initiatives, which span local, state, federal and international arenas advocating for science-based approaches.

Dr. Miller has more than 20 years of experience in nutrition science and regulatory issues in the food industry, with 15 of those years in the chocolate and confectionery industry. Previously, Dr. Miller served as director of scientific and regulatory affairs at The Hershey Company, where she was responsible for developing internal and external food policies, which affect food labeling and food safety regulations. Prior to that, she served as the director of nutrition in Hershey’s research and development division, where she held responsibility for the clinical nutrition research program, health professional communications and was the director of the Hershey Center for Health & Nutrition.

Before joining The Hershey Company in 2004, Dr. Miller served as director of nutrition communications for Dupont Nutrition, St. Louis, MO. Dr. Miller was an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, where she investigated food intake regulation and led the olestra post-market surveillance clinical trial. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship in obesity treatment at Harvard Medical School after completing her doctoral degree.

Dr. Miller is a graduate of Juniata College (Huntingdon, PA) and The Pennsylvania State University with a doctoral degree in bio-behavioral health and a doctoral minor in nutrition science.

Despite a pandemic and a fierce presidential election cycle, 2020 was a very active year for food regulations. As with everything 2020, COVID-19 issues dominated the regulatory landscape as federal, state and local governments as well as private companies worked individually and collectively to assure an uninterrupted, safe food supply. Notable actions included designating the food and agriculture sector workforce as essential and the development of protocols for worker safety and workplace sanitation.  More recently, COVID-19 vaccination distribution and availability have dominated the discussion. The year also brought other regulatory actions from FDA on both nutrition/labeling and food safety.

On nutrition/labeling, the agency finalized guidance on the new nutrition facts panel guidance and allulose labeling and its rule regarding “gluten-free” claims on fermented foods, reopened the discussion of modernizing the standards of identity and issued draft guidance on sesame allergen labeling.

In the food safety area, FDA issued draft guidance on lab accreditation, traceability requirements for certain foods and ramped its “New Era of Smarter Food Safety.” FDA continues to demonstrate concern regarding levels of milk protein in dark chocolate. USDA provided guidance on testing methods for bioengineered (BE) food disclosure and the addition of new BE variants to its list including BE sugar cane. Prior to the focus shifting to COVID-19 issues, regulatory agencies and Congress were focused on initiatives regarding hemp and cannabidiol following its removal from the Schedule 1 list under the 2018 Farm Bill.

2020 was also a year for new Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Of note for the confectionery industry, recommendations for added sugar intake remain at 10 percent of total calories, despite the recommendation from the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee to lower that level to six percent.

Outside of the US, the food regulatory and policy world was focused on new front-of-pack labeling requirements in Mexico and other Latin/South American countries as well as advertising and sales bans of “unhealthy” food in the UK. Similarly, state and local actions are focused on high-sugar foods including a retail check out ban of soda, candy and other treats in Berkeley, CA. 2021 is poised to be a very busy regulatory year as the Biden Administration refocuses on nutrition and health issues.

Liliana Casal-Wardle

June 8, 2021

Dr. Liliana Casal-Wardle, The Acheson Group

Dr. Liliana Casal-Wardle, senior director of food safety, has more than 25 years of experience in private industry, with technical and leadership roles at the corporate level for 18 years for The Hershey Company. In this function, she was responsible for supply chain food safety and quality compliance, managing suppliers, internal facilities, external partners and distributors based in the United States and internationally. Dr. Casal-Wardle has worked with internationally renowned companies, developing and implementing strategies focused on regulatory compliance, risk mitigation, project design and processes for brand and consumer protection. Her areas of expertise include food safety, food safety culture, food science, food defense, sanitary equipment design, cleaning and sanitation practices, environmental control programs, GFSI requirements and quality assurance, among others. Dr. Liliana Casal-Wardle has a multicultural and multilingual background, having resided and being professionally active in Argentina, Australia, Brazil and the United States. She has a PhD in biochemistry from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. She worked with tropical diseases at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, the Royal Melbourne Hospital of Australia and the University of São Paulo in Brazil. Dr. Casal-Wardle is a certified SQF practitioner and a qualified FSMA preventive controls (PCQI) individual. She is also a member of IAFP and PMCA.

The food manufacturing industry has been enhancing programs and requirements to guarantee that the products manufactured are safe for consumers. The regulatory environment has created stronger awareness through strict regulations: Food safety Modernization Act (FSMA) in the US, stricter regulations on the EU, Safe Food Australia (among others) and the New Era of Smarter Food safety, launched by FDA in 2020. The common denominator for these regulations is consistency in the risk management approach for food safety.

In the history of food safety — for every outbreak, for every recall, for every deviation — there is a component of human behaviors that failed. A culture is intuitive. It has to do with feelings and beliefs, with what is right and what is wrong, not because it is the law, but because common sense and values dictate it is. Incorporating the model of a set of values to manage food safety, with complete commitment, education and training and positive reinforcements is a model that guarantees consistency on the programs.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to create big constraints for food manufacturers, and there is a stronger need to have consistency and strength on the management of food safety to protect the health of consumers and the strength of brands.

The implementation of a culture-based approach where there is an understanding of food safety risks at all organizational levels and functions is essential. This review will provide insights on the management of food safety risks through the development of programs that recognize the strength of the people for its success. This can be accomplished through ongoing education, empowerment and recognition of the workforce and the use of metrics to control food safety hazards.

Sanjiv Avashia

July 13, 2021

James “Jake” Walsh, Tate & Lyle

Jake Walsh is an associate scientist with the Food and Beverage Solutions business unit of Tate & Lyle. His work focuses on confections, nutrition bars, and snacks. He graduated from University of Illinois at Chicago in 2015.

He enjoys board games and going for walks with his wife and their three-legged German Shepherd.

Q&A with Jake Walsh and Sanjiv Avashia, Tate & Lyle

Conventional sweeteners are a versatile part of most traditional confections. Many of these sweeteners are collectively referred to as “sugars.” Appropriate selection of these sweeteners offers the opportunity to build confections with appealing textural characteristics along with a pleasant sweet flavor. While the ability to process high-quality candies economically is favorable with many of the conventional sweeteners, nutritional shortcomings register as a concern by many in the marketplace. Nutritionists and health professionals recognize that traditional confections eaten in moderation are part of a healthy diet, but many consumers are seeking alternatives. This presentation will highlight ingredient tools, properties and functionality for gummies, caramels and fruit chews, which offer the option of lower sugar content, decreased glycemic response and potentially minimize caloric impact.

Sarah Houle

August 10, 2021

Sarah Houle, Ghirardelli Chocolate Company

Sarah Woodling Houle is currently the research and development manager at the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company in San Leandro, CA. In this role, she is responsible for leading the team of talented technologists that work on developing new chocolate bars, squares, baking items and professional products. Prior to her role at Ghirardelli, Sarah was a senior scientist at Continental Mills in Seattle, WA. In addition, she has also held positions as a staff scientist at The Hershey Company and a food scientist at General Mills. Her experience in product development has covered a wide category of products, including but not limited to fresh breads, breakfast cereals, caramels, sugar confections, baking mixes, popcorn, tortilla chips and chocolate confections.

Sarah holds a BS in food science from Penn State University and an M.S. in food science and technology from Cornell University. She is a member of IFT and the Western Region Committee of PMCA.

Nuts are the most popular inclusion in chocolate bars in North America. Consumers state their primary nut benefits in chocolate are crunch followed by nutrition, satiety and taste (2018 Global Chocolate Study, Sterling Rice Group). The almond industry has invested in sensory and flavor research looking at shelf life and flavor volatiles to understand liking of flavor and shelf life of roasted almonds. When formulating chocolate-based confections with almond inclusions, the two primary methods of product failure are surface fat bloom and rancid flavor. Three studies will be presented addressing these concerns over shelf life for diced almond and almond butter-filled chocolate products.

Matthew Archey

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Matthew Archey, Borton-Lawson

Matt Archey is a licensed professional engineer, LEED AP BD+C, and industrial service leader at Borton-Lawson committed to helping food manufacturers and building owners solve some of their most complex challenges in innovative and sustainable ways. He has 15+ years’ experience in the building design and construction industry, has managed numerous OPEX and CAPEX projects for various FDA-regulated manufacturers in the food and beverage and pharmaceutical markets and was named to Lehigh Valley Business’s Top 40 Under 40 in 2018.

Matt spends his spare time serving multiple ASHRAE chapters, volunteering in his church and community, enjoying the outdoors with his wife, their daughter, and their wirehaired vizsla and convincing his wife that another bird dog is exactly what they need in life.

Sanitary design is one of those foundational skills that carries through many aspects of our production facilities, and the “c” in cGMP (Current Good Manufacturing Practice) is constantly leading to change and improvements in how we do business. As we work in an environment that many of us would have considered a dream as a kid – making chocolate, candy and confections – it’s good for us to revisit these foundational skills and consider ways we can do it better so generations to come can safely enjoy all the amazing treats and sweets out there.  Since 2018, the FDA has cited more than 2,000 instances in which facilities failed to comply with 21 CFR Parts 110 & 117 related to cGMP. This presentation will cover key aspects of sanitary design related to 21 CFR Part 110, highlight how these items were applied in confections facility modification case studies and discuss innovative tools your facility can use to improve CAPEX and OPEX initiatives impacted by sanitary design requirements.

Françoise Touré

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Françoise Touré, FarmStrong Foundation, Côte d’Ivoire

Françoise TOURÉ was appointed country director for FarmStrong Foundation programs in Côte d’Ivoire in July 2016. In her capacity, she oversees all country programs and manages a team of 21 permanent employees.

Prior to joining FarmStrong, Françoise worked from 2001-2007 as a microbiologist in the food industry. From 2007-2016, Françoise worked for ADM (Archer Daniels Midland – Côte d’Ivoire branch) as head of the certification and community development unit.

On August 23, 2013, Françoise developed the financial traceability procedure for the payment of the sustainable cocoa premium. The share of the management body is only disbursed if the entire portion due to the farmers is returned to them. This procedure is still used by many cocoa exporters.

In 2017, Françoise developed the mobile premium payment strategy. She developed and implemented a community child protection system in 2018. Françoise also launched a women’s empowerment project on local transformation and the fight against all forms of violence against children and young girls in 2019.

Françoise is a graduated engineer in agro-food and industrial processes from the Centre Universitaire Professionalisé (CUP) in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.

She is a francophone from Côte d’Ivoire with a beautiful daughter.

Over the past five to 10 years, the chocolate industry has considerably increased its investments into community development programs on the village level. Why is the role of women so important, and what can be done to promote the recognition of women as women, women as mothers, women as the pivot of their families and the role of women in cocoa growing communities? If we talk about cocoa sustainability, we often talk about agronomics, fertilizers, planting material and crop protection products. However, dealing with agriculture and the issues of the cocoa tree is one thing, but for many reasons we often find it hard to fully comprehend the complexities of the people looking after the cocoa tree – the cocoa farmers, their families and their communities in the context of their daily lives. In this ecosystem, women play a key role. We must understand the complexity of the ecosystem as a whole, for at that stage we can truly support the change agents at the family and community levels.

Livestreamed April 13, 2021

Beyond the Basics — Centers for Chocolates: Almost Everything You Need to Know

Rudi Hauser

Rudi Hauser, Hauser Chocolatier

Rudi Hauser, Jr., president and owner of Hauser Chocolatier, has been in the confectionery industry his entire career. His first taste of the food business was working in the family bakery at the age of 12. After college in 1985, the family started Hauser Chocolatier where he began with making chocolate shells. He learned his craft working alongside his father who learned chocolate and confectionery during his apprenticeship in Switzerland where he grew up. Rudi earned recognition as a Master Chocolatier Emeritus certification through the RCI in 2003. Rudi plies his trade in Westerly, RI where he is now working with the next generation, his son Ravi.

This presentation will discuss traditional as well as extended shelf life for truffle-type products from a manufacturer’s R&D perspective. We will look at considerations when developing a new flavor of truffle as well as scale-up from benchtop to production. Applications will also be addressed.

Jeffrey Fine

Jeffrey Fine, AAK USA

Jeff has spent close to 30 years working in fats and oils research and applications across the food and confectionery industries. He has had held senior technical positions with both major CPGs and ingredient suppliers including General Mills, The Hershey Company and PepsiCo. He most recently served as the North American R&D lead of Cargill’s Edible Oil Division. His work with fats and oils spans products ranging from bakery and chocolate to infant nutrition and candles. He previously served as the chair of the PMCA Research Committee.

Jeff holds a PhD in biochemistry from Ohio State University and currently serves as senior director of R&D to AAK.

Filled chocolates, or pralines, are a universal favorite transcending age, geography and culture. The variety of fat-based fillings is only limited by our creativity and imagination. They range from the exotic, indulgent and fanciful to the somewhat ordinary. Fat plays a major role in the sensory attributes and shelf life of filled chocolate articles, and in many ways governs the overall eating experience enjoyed by consumers. This presentation will review the types of fats used for confectionery fillings and their unique functional properties. Special emphasis will be given to the dynamic interaction occurring between the filling fat and shell coating fat, and the impact this interaction has on quality, shelf life and acceptability.

Randy Hofberger

Randy Hofberger, R&D Candy Consulting

Randy has more than 35 years of experience in the confectionery industry, with many years at Nestlè Confections starting in the QA department and eventually into technical applications. He started R&D Candy Consulting in 2008 to help people with their confectionery challenges.

Randy is involved with RCI, AACT and PMCA and has assisted with lectures and technical courses. He is the recipient of the Henry Bornhofft and Stroud Jordan awards and has contributed technical articles to Candy Industry, Manufacturing Confectioner Magazine, AIB and co-authored chapters to several books. Recently, he has assisted with the book Confectionery Science and Technology.

Randy’s personal interests include candy making, hiking, cooking, traveling, biking and kayaking.

Fondant is often used as a graining agent for confections. This presentation will include grained confections, namely, fudges and certain cast creams. In addition to being used as a graining agent, fondant is widely used as the base for many of our confections such as creams, cordials and mints. Types of fondant will be discussed, as well as types of confections made with fondant. We’ll also review basic processes for cast/deposited candies and hand-roll/extruded/enrobed items, as well as troubleshooting.

Nico Tomaselli

Moderator: Nico Tomaselli, Lindt & Sprüngli

Nico Tomaselli is the director of R&D at Lindt & Sprüngli USA located in Stratham, NH. Nico began his career in Milan, Italy, where at the age of 13 he first developed an interest in the culinary arts and chocolate in a little pasty store. After starting a traditional culinary arts and pastry program he soon realized chocolate was his true passion. After completing his culinary degree, Nico entered the University of Milan where he earned a master’s degree in food science in 2003 and then a Lindt Academy Master in Business from University of Castellanza LIUC in 2011.

After his graduation, Nico worked in technical support for a German beer company for four years before joining Lindt & Sprüngli, Italy. He started in Induno Olona, Italy as the innovation and technology project manager and then became the R&D manager. In 2012, Nico accepted the position as R&D manager for Lindt & Sprüngli USA and moved to Stratham, NH. There, he was charged with creating a new R&D business unit for the North American branch of Lindt.

In addition to his role as leader of the R&D team, Nico collaborates with the Lindt international technology team and international technology vendors to help shape the future of premium chocolate (because “life’s too short for ordinary chocolate”). Nico also collaborates with national and international candy associations and is a member of two PMCA committees (Education & Learning and Student Outreach) as well as a board director.

Originally from Milan, Italy, Nico currently resides in New Hampshire with his wife and three wonderful kids.

Brian Donaghy

Demo Lead: Brian Donaghy, Tomric Systems Inc.

Brian Donaghy is currently the corporate chocolatier and innovation center manager for Tomric Systems, Inc. of Buffalo, NY. At Tomric, he is responsible for training and customer support of all Tomric products but spends most of his time coaching and training on Selmi chocolate handling equipment in Buffalo and throughout North America. His passport includes numerous stamps from cacao origin countries and has been in more chocolate plants than he remembers. Prior to his time with Tomric, Brian worked for a Swiss chocolate import company, The Ritz-Carlton and was a culinary instructor. When not working with, eating or cleaning up chocolate, you will find him on adventures with his family or on a squash court.

Zachary Freed

Demo Lead: Zachary Freed, AAK USA

Zachary Freed is the customer innovations application specialist in the Chocolate and Confectionery Group for AAK USA. Prior to this role, he was the innovations project manager at Barry Callebaut. He serves on the PMCA Education Committee and as a mentor with the Student Outreach Program

Zachary received his bachelor’s degree in food science and management from Delaware Valley College.

Program Contributors

Demo Facility Host

Calico Cottage
Hauser Chocolatier
Ryba's Fudge Shop

R&D Candy Consultants