Sean Leighton is the vice president of food safety and quality for Cargill, based in Wayzata, MN. In August 2018, Sean will be moving into the role of vice president corporate food safety, quality and regulatory for Cargill when Mike Robach retires.

Prior to joining Cargill, Sean worked for over 13 years at The Coca-Cola Company in various roles across quality, food safety, and environmental sustainability. He worked in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. 

Sean has a B.Sc. in Bacteriology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a Master of Science degree in Food Science from the University of Minnesota, and an MBA from Emory University. 

Sean sits on the advisory board of many organizations, including the International Association for Food Protection's Journal of Food Protection, The Center for Food Safety (University of Georgia), the Grocery Manufacturers Association's Science & Education Foundation, and the Food Fraud Think Tank (Michigan State University).

Sean is also a member of the Food Safety Magazine Editorial Advisory Board.

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

  • Food safety vs. food quality culture
  • The difference between making safety decisions vs. quality decisions
  • How food safety and quality are sometimes at odds with other corporate departments and their business goals
  • Making the case for food safety when cost-benefit is at play
  • Building a food safety culture with the younger, millennial workforce, and dealing with quick turnover rates
  • Sean's thoughts on today's biggest food safety challenges
  • Connecting the dots between food safety, technology, finance, and all other parts of a business
  • How earning an MBA has shaped his career path
  • His mentors and influencers over the years
  • What he believes is the next big opportunity for food safety
  • The opportunities and problems with big data

News Mentioned in This Episode
Yuma Region Environmental Samples Test Positive for E. coli 
Politico - Victims Blame FDA for Food Recall Failures
Study: Consumers are Spreading Bacteria All Over the Kitchen - Study/Executive Summary 
Free eBook Download - Exclusive Food Safety Culture Collection

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