William Weichelt is in the newly created position of director, Food Safety & Industry Relations, for the National Restaurant Association (NRA) and has over 20 years of experience in the foodservice and food manufacturing sectors. 

The NRA is the largest foodservice trade association in the world by membership—supporting over 500,000 restaurant businesses. They represent and advocate for foodservice industry interests—with a focus on financial and regulatory obstacles. They also provide tools and systems that help members of all sizes get significantly better operating results as well as networking, education and research resources.

Specific to food safety their ServSafe Program provides comprehensive educational materials to the restaurant industry through face-to-face and online instruction. More than 5 million foodservice professionals have been certified through the ServSafe Food Protection Manager Certification Examination.

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In this episode of Food Safety Matters, we speak to William Weichelt about:

  • Challenges the NRA faces with the start of their new Food Safety Industry Relations department
  • NRA’s current top priorities to help the industry going forward
  • Using food safety best practices that have been applied in manufacturing to create new best practices in foodservice and hospitality
  • Working with an industry that runs the gamut—from large operators with their own systems in place to independent operators who have no food science staff or expertise
  • The challenge of figuring out what topics to educate the industry on in the short-term, based on need, from edible marijuana to implementing a food safety management system
  • NRA's training and resources offered to smaller operators who do not have food safety staff
  • Challenges related to keeping ServSafe relevant and always in line with the FDA Food Code
  • Milestones that NRA has achieved as the organization's 100th-anniversary approaches
  • The importance of having everyone in an organization from the top down involved in the implementation and maintenance of a food safety management system
  • The new Food Safety Industry Relations department's future plans to help the industry in new areas: food fraud, food defense, traceability and figuring out how to apply these topics to the restaurant level, not just to manufacturers
  • How changing trends, consumer demand and product innovations impact how the food industry operates and how it all affects the industry’s approach to food safety

Related Content and Resources
For National Food Safety Month, Restaurants Focus on Food Allergens
National Restaurant Association

News Mentioned in This Episode 
The "Best .gif Ever," tweeted by the Safe Food Alliance
A Look Back at 2017 Food Recalls
Norovirus Sickens More than 100 at 2018 Winter Olympic Games
New USDA, FDA Joint Venture to Improve Food Safety Oversight and Inspection Process
Lactalis Official Statement Regarding Salmonella Tainted Baby Formula
List of Lactalis Recalled Products 
South Africa's Listeriosis Outbreak Death Toll Exceeds 100
Chicken Line Speed Changes
PCA's Remaining Appeals Denied
What's in Your Sushi?

Bob Ferguson's Food Safety Insights Articles:
Food Safety Insights: Testing and Sanitation for Allergen Control (February/March 2018) 
Food Safety Insights: Outsourcing: Pathogen Testing under the Microscope ( December 2017/January 2018)
Food Safety Insights: The New Face of Sanitation Programs: New Rules, New Challenges (October/November 2017)
Food Safety Insights: A Closer Look at Environmental Monitoring in the Processing Plant (August/September 2017)
Food Safety Insights: What Industry and FDA Are Thinking About FSMA Implementation (June/July 2017)
Food Safety Insights: The Drivers of Differences in Food Safety Testing Practices (April/May 2017)
Food Safety Insights: A Look at the Microbiology Testing Market (February/March 2017)

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