Past Events

ICMSF Annual Meetings – ICMSF Annual Meetings are frequently held in conjunction with workshops and conferences. See Support for a listing of the location of ICMSF annual meetings since the Commission’s first meeting in 1962.

ICMSF-Associated Conferences – The Commission contributed to the organization or presentations at the following meetings, workshops and congresses.

2018 International Association for Food Protection European Symposium, Stockholm, Sweden

ICMSF Session for IAFP European Symposia 2018

25-27 April 2018, Stockholm, Sweden

ICMSF organized a session entitled Importance of Microbiological Criteria and Statistical Underpinning of Sampling and Testing for Food Safety Assurance for IAFP’s 2018 European Symposium. Leon Gorris started by describing the setting of international fppd safety management and microbiological criteria in Codex. This was followed by Marcel Zwietering who explained the detailed statistical specificities of sampling for various situations. Wayne Anderson then gave the ICMSF perspective on sampling and provided examples from ICMSF’s Book 8. The session was well attended by about 80 people and there was a lively discussion.


  • International Perspective on the Role of Microbiological Sampling and Testing in Food Safety Assurance – Leon Gorris, Unilever R&D Vlaardingen, Vlaardingen, Netherlands
  • The Science and Statistics Underlying Sound Microbiological Sampling and Testing Approaches – Marcel Zwietering, Wageningen University, Wageningen, Netherlands
  • ICMSF Guidance on Microbiological Sampling and Testing for Key Commodities – Wayne Anderson, Food Safety Authority of Ireland, Dublin, Ireland

 For more information see

2018 ICMSF Sampling Workshop, Beijing, China

ICMSF Workshop: Understanding Useful Microbiological Sampling and Testing for Food Safety Management

17-18 April 2018, Beijing, China

ICMSF experts Leon Gorris, Tom Ross and Marcel Zwietering ran a hands-on Workshop in Beijing, China on useful Microbiological Sampling and Testing for Food Safety Management. Seventy Chinese food safety professionals from government, industry and academia attended the workshop. The session was designed to give participants a deep and hand-on understanding of useful microbiological sampling and testing, with specific attention to the underlying statistics, sampling plan performance and development and interpretation of microbiological criteria. As part of their training resources, all participants received a signed copy of ICMSF’s Microorganisms in Foods 8: Use of Data for Assessing Process Control and Product Acceptance translated into Chinese through the effort of a team led by former ICMSF member Xiumei Liu.

Left to right: Dr. Zhinong Yan (Walmart China), Dr. Tom Ross (ICMSF), Dr. Marcel Zwietering (ICMSF), Dr. Wang Jun (Director of Division 2 of Food Safety Standards, China National Center for Food Safety Risk Assessment) and Dr. Leon Gorris (ICMSF)

According to Dr. Wang Jun (Director of Division 2 of Food Safety Standards, China National Center for Food Safety Risk Assessment) the workshop was an important contribution to the further strengthening of the professional quality of China’s food safety work by giving the Chinese professionals a solid understanding of the utility of microbiological food safety testing.

The workshop was a joint effort of several organizations that strive to advance food capability building in China and around the globe. It was organized by ICMSF in conjunction with the Chinese Institute of Food Science and Technology and the International Union for Food Science and Technology, co-organized by the Unilever China Consumer Products Safety Collaboration Center in Shanghai and sponsored by the Walmart Food Safety Collaboration Center in Beijing.

2017 ICMSF Workshop, Vlaardingen, The Netherlands

The Role of Food Safety and Stability in Assuring Global Food Security

3 & 4 October 2017, Unilever Research Vlaardingen (URV)

3 October – Scene setting and information sharing
9:00 Welcome and opening remarks Rob Hamer, Unilever
9:30 Introduction of Participants; Overview of workshop objectives; Megatrends scene setter Martin Cole, ICMSF
10:30 Morning break
10:45 Food security, food production and nutrition Mario Herrero, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)
11:30 People, demographics and health Anne-Katrin Bock, European Commission’s Joint Research Centre
12:30 Lunch
13:30 Biosecurity challenges – One Health Martyn Jeggo, Geelong Centre for Emerging Infectious Diseases, Deakin Univ. Medical School
14:30 Sustainability and environmental challenges Fumiko Kasuga, ICMSF and Future Earth
15:30 Afternoon break
16:00 Emerging food safety issues (incl. AMR, Food Waste, Sustainability) & One Health Markus Lipp, FAO
17:00 Plenary Discussion on Themes for Day 2 Martin/All
19:00 Workshop dinner


October 4 – Working Groups to develop/define themes and output*
8:30 Agreement of themes and assignment of tasks Martin facilitates
9:30 Concurrent working groups develop plans for the themes identified from day 1 (quick report back before break)
10:30 Morning break
11:00 Continuing working group discussions on plans for identified themes and planning for theme gaps
12:00 Plenary working group feed-back and first discussions
12:30 Lunch buffet
13:30 Continuing discussions on plans for identified themes and planning for theme gaps
15:00 Wrap up discussion: next steps, who does what, what are we missing Martin
16:00 Close
2015 Whole Genome Sequencing, Ithaca, New York, USA

November 12, 2015 – Whole Genome Sequencing – Ithaca, New York

At the occasion on the 47th session of the Codex Committee for Food Hygiene (CCFH), ICMSF organized a side-event on the topic of Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) on 12 November 2015. The meeting was chaired by Leon Gorris (Unilever, The Netherlands), representing ICMSF, and attended by well over 100 delegates coming from 56 countries.

The programme was as follows (*):

Opening, Jenny Scott (CFSAN, FDA, USA)

  1. The Whole Genome Sequencing Revolution (PPT), Martin Wiedmann (Cornell University, USA)
  2. GenomeTrakr: A Pathogen Database (PDF), Marc Allard (CFSAN, FDA, USA)
  3. Whole Genome Sequencing and foodborne pathogens: a UK perspective (PDF), Paul Cook (FSA, UK)
  4. WGS-based pathogen surveillance: international collaboration (PDF), Ruth Timme (CFSAN, FDA, USA)
  5. Stakeholder comments, Sarah Cahill (FAO, Italy)
  6. Stakeholder comments (PDF), Leon Gorris (Unilever, NL)

Q&A / Discussion

(*) presentations can be accessed through the links provided in the titles

2014 IUFoST, Montreal, Canada

The Commission participated in the recent Congress of the International Union for Food Science and Technology (IUFoST) held in Montreal on 17-21 August 2014, with a session on Food Safety – Role of Microbial Testing in the Context of Risk Management Based on Book 8 (ICMSF) held on 18 August 2014. This was the first time that the ICMSF has participated in an IUFoST Congress. A talk on Interplay between Risk Assessment and Risk Management and The Emergence of New Food Safety Metrics was given by Jeff Farber, Director, Bureau of Microbial Hazards, Health Canada, Food Directorate, Ottawa, ON, Canada, whilst a talk on Risk management metrics and their relationship to microbiological criteria and testing was given by Martin Cole, Director Food and Nutrition Flagship, CSIRO, Australia.

The rest of the session was dedicated to a panel discussion on the important and very relevant topic of Future needs for HACCP and Risk Management in Controlling Microbiological Hazards in the Global Food Supply. The aim of the panel discussion was to discuss the role of HACCP in light of advances in risk management and increasing importance of pre-requisite controls in ensuring the safety of food and the increasing need for through chain control measures.


  1. What are the current issues and experiences with the application of HACCP in the emerging food safety issues?
  2. How are HACCP principles evolving to cope with complex through chain issues?
  3. How can we make the stringency of HACCP plans more quantitative and risk based?
  • Jeff Farber, Director, Bureau of Microbial Hazards, Health Canada, Food Directorate
  • Martin Cole, Director Food and Nutrition Flagship, CSIRO, Australia
  • Joseph Scimeca, VP Global Regulatory and Scientific Affairs, Cargill, USA
  • Yao-wen Huang, Professor, University of Georgia, Atlanta, GA, USA
  • Martin Lo, Biointellipro LLC, Ashton, MD, USA
2014 Microal, Iguassu Falls, Paraná, Brazil

Rafain Palace Hotel & Convention Centre

MICROAL 2014 was the result of the joint effort of several groups from Latin America involved with food safety. This congress was one of the most important international food safety events to be held in Latin America, with sessions on hot topics in food microbiology and food safety. It was a unique opportunity for networking and exchanging information with professionals from academia, government and the food industry.

2008 Conference, New Delhi, India

October 21-22, 2008 – Conference on Current and Innovative Approaches to Food Safety Management – New Delhi

Crystal Ballroom, Hotel Intercontinental The Grand New Delhi
New Delhi, India

Jointly organized by the International Commission on Microbiological Specifications for Foods (ICMSF) and the International Life Sciences Institute-India (ILSI-India).

Cosponsored by the India Ministry of Food Processing Industries, GOI Agriculture and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) and the Indian Council of Medical Research, GOI.

Download the program – PDF 376 KB

2007 Latin American Congress of Food Micrcobiology and Hygiene, Margarita Island, Venezuela

IX Latin American Congress of Food Microbiology and HygieneIV Venezuelan Food Science and Food Technology Congress
Margarita Island, Venezuela
May 16-18, 2007

In May 2007, 817 attendees from 20 countries converged in Margarita Island to hear 34 international and 33 national guest speakers present recent developments in food safety and quality, food science and technology, consumer trends and regulatory issues from a multidisciplinary perspective. More than 300 scientific abstracts were presented, and delegates also attended several pre-meeting short courses on topics ranging from rapid methods for microorganism detection in foods, methods validation, and methods to establish food shelf-life.

Four scientific papers were distinguished by the following awards:

International Commission on Microbiological Specifications for Foods (ICMSF), Award: Listeria monocyotogenes molecular typing using RAPD and sequence of actA and hly genes.” Authors: Vanegas López, Maria Consuelo; Medrano Medina, Mayra Viviana; and Marino Ramirez, Leonardo. Universidad de Los Andes, Colombia.

Publitec Award: “Use of reverse transcription-PCR for transgen detection. Model: Coffee transformed using the B. thuringiensis cry1ac gen.” Authors: Soraya de Guglielmo C.; Rosanna Valerio; and Andrea Menéndez. Laboratorio de Clonación y Genética Vegetal, Instituto de Biología Experimental de la Universidad Central de Venezuela y Departamento de Biología de la Universidad de Oriente, Venezuela.

Dr. Josefina Gómez Ruiz Award: “Magnetic inmunoseparation as an alternative rapid method for Salmonella detection in foods”. Authors: Diana Rosentul and Patrica Blasco. Gerencia de Soporte Científico, Empresas Polar, Venezuela.

Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnología de Alimentos, Universidad Central de Venezuela Award:“Use of alginate and gelan as probiotic edible coatings in fresh-cut fruits.” Authors: Rodriguez, Francisco J.; Tapia, Maria Soledad; Rojas-Graü, Maria Alejandra; Ramírez, Jorge; Carmona, Andrés; and Martin-Belloso, Olga. Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Central de Venezuela.

2006 Symposium, Pretoria, South Africa


In association with SAAFoST Expo

Symposium Opening, Welcome & Announcements – Dr Lucia Anelich (Manager: Food Safety Initiative, CGCSA, SA)

Introduction to the ICMSF – Dr Martin Cole, ICMSF Chairman

Emerging Risk Management Tools – Dr Robert Buchanan, Senior Science Advisor, FDA/CFSAN, USA

The Relationship Between GHP/GMP, HACCP, Risk Assessment and Risk Management – Dr Leon Gorris (Senior Scientists, Unilever, UK)

Emerging Foodborne Pathogens – Dr Jeff Farber (Director, Bureau of Microbial Hazards, Health Canada, Health Products and Food Branch, Canada)

Control of Emerging Foodborne Pathogens – Dr Bruce Tompkin, Food Safety Consultant, USA

Avian Influenza: an Update – Dr Morrie Potter, Lead Scientist for Epidemiology, FDA, USA

Hygiene and Food Safety in the Dairy Industry – Dr Paul Teufel, Director, Institute for Hygiene and Food Safety, Federal Research, Centre for Nutrition and Food, Germany

Innovation and Emerging Sanitation and Decontamination Issues in the Food Industry, Dr Katie Swanson, Vice President Food Safety, Ecolab Inc., USA

Implications and Value of Sampling – Dr Susanne Dahms, Senior Clinical Statistician, Schering AG, Germany

Microbiological Criteria – Dr Martin Cole, Director, National Centre for Food Safety and Technology, USA

Industry Uses of Microbiological Testing and Microbiological Criteria in the Manufacturing and Marketing of Processed Foods, Dr Jean-Louis Cordier, Food Safety Manager, Nestlé Nutrition/Operations, Switzerland

Food Safety in South Africa – Dr Lucia Anelich, Manager: Food Safety Initiative, CGCSA, SA

2005 Symposium, Washington DC, USA

October 31-November 1, 2005 – Symposium on Relating Microbiological Testing and Microbiological Criteria to Public Health Goals, Washington, DC, USA

Sponsored by International Commission on Microbiological Specifications for Foods; Risk Assessment Consortium, International Life Sciences Institute, International Association for Food Protection, Institute of Food Technologists


Opening Session

WELCOME – Suzanne Harris, Executive Director International Life Sciences Institute

OPENING REMARKS- Martin Cole, Chair, (ICMSF)

KEYNOTE ADDRESS The role of microbiological testing and microbiological criteria in an evolving regulatory environment – Robert Brackett, Director, US Food and Drug Administration/Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (FDA/CFSAN), USA

Understanding the Basics

Principles of microbiological testing: Methodological concepts, classes, and considerations – Russell Flowers, Silliker Group Corporation, USA

Principles of microbiological testing: Statistical basis of sampling – Martin Cole, ICMSF

Role of Microbiological Testing and Microbiological Criteria: Regulatory Applications

Use of microbiological testing and microbiological criteria in regulatory programs for meat, poultry, and processed egg products – Daniel Engeljohn, US Department of Agriculture/Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA/FSIS), USA

Use of microbiological testing and microbiological criteria by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – Steve Schaub, EPA, USA

International Applications including Codex

Use of microbiological criteria in international food hygiene standards – Karen Hulebak, Chair, Codex Alimentarius Committee on Food Hygiene Industrial Applications

Industry uses of microbiological testing and microbiological criteria in the manufacturing and marketing of processed foods – Jean-Louis Cordier, Nestlé, Switzerland

Industry uses of microbiological testing and microbiological criteria in the manufacture and marketing of raw food product – Bruce Tompkin, Food Safety Consultant, USA

Panel Discussion: Strengths and Weaknesses of Current Uses of Microbiological Criteria


Relating Microbiological Criteria to Public Health Goals

Moderators: Anna Lammerding, Public Health Agency of Canada, Canada – Kathleen Glass, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA

Introduction to the Codex risk management framework for relating food safety control measures to public health goals – Robert Buchanan, FDA/CFSAN, USA

Approaches for deriving performance objectives and performance criteria from a food safety objective – Richard Whiting, FDA/CFSAN, USA

Approaches for deriving microbiological criteria from performance objectives and performance criteria – Susanne Dahms, Global Medical Development Clinical Statistics Europe, Germany

The role of microbiological testing and microbiological criteria in conjunction with disease surveillance systems to monitor and review the effectiveness of food safety risk management systems – Morris Potter, FDA/CFSAN, USA

Hypothetical examples of FSO-derived Microbiological Criteria Listeria monocytogenes and smoked fish – Lone Gram, Danish Institute for Fisheries Research, Denmark

Enterobacter sakazakii, Salmonella, and Enterobacteriaceae in powdered infant formula – Jeffrey Farber, Health Canada, Food Directorate, Canada

Campylobacter and Salmonella in raw poultry – Marcel Zwietering, Wageningen University, The Netherlands

Food Safety Objectives and Microbiological Criteria in Developing Countries

Applicability of food safety objective-derived microbiological criteria in developing countries – Lucia Anelich, University of Pretoria, South Africa

Panel Discussion: Potential advantages and pitfalls in using public-health derived microbiological criteria

2004 Conference, Beijing, China


Organizing Institutions: ICMSF; Chinese Institute of Food Science and Technology (CIFST); National Institute of Nutrition and Food Safety, China CDC Committee on Microbial Toxins, Chinese Association of Microbiology; Association of Analytical Chemists (AOAC), China Section; International Life Science Institute (ILSI) China Focal Point; International Union of Food Science and Technology (IUFoST); Food Science Australia.

Undertaken by: Chinese Institute of Food Science and Technology (CIFST), National Institute of Nutrition and Food Safety, China CDC.

Endorsements: Zhejiang Provincial Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Zhejiang Institute of Food Science, Shanghai Jiao Tong University,

Sponsored by: Silliker Group Corporation, USA; bioMérieux China Limited; 3M; Unilever; DuPont QUAL ICON; Beijing Sanyuan Foods Co., LTD.

Conference presentations are available from the website of the Chinese Institute of Food Science and Technology.

Contacts: at the time of the conference: Ms Shao Wei, Chinese Institute of Food Science and Technology; Ms Tian Jing, China CDC Institute of Nutrition and Food Safety; Dr Jason Wan, Food Science Australia