Frank Yiannas is the vice president of food safety at Walmart—the world's largest food retailer. In that role, Frank oversees all food safety—as well as other public health functions—for Walmart, serving over 200 million customers around the world on a weekly basis. His scope of responsibilities includes food safety oversight of Walmart’s stores, Neighborhood Markets, and Sam’s Clubs. He is also charged with training and education of associates, food safety oversight of thousands of food suppliers, and a number of critical regulatory compliance issues.

Prior to joining Walmart in 2008, Frank was the director of safety and health for The Walt Disney Company, where he worked for 19 years. In 2001, under his tenure, Walt Disney World received the prestigious Black Pearl Award for corporate excellence in food safety by the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP).

As a frequent speaker at national and international conferences, Frank is known for his ability to build partnerships. He is also known for his innovative approaches to food safety. In 2008, Frank was given the Collaboration Award by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. He is the 2007 recipient of the NSF International Lifetime Achievement Award for Leadership in Food Safety, and the 2015 Industry Professional Food Safety Hero Award by STOP Foodborne Illness. Frank is also a past president of IAFP and a past vice chair of the Global Food Safety Initiative. He is also an adjunct professor in the food safety program at Michigan State University (MSU), and in 2017 was awarded the MSU Outstanding Faculty Award.

Frank has authored two books—Food Safety Culture, Creating a Behavior-based Food Safety Management System, and Food Safety = Behavior, 30 Proven Techniques to Enhance Employee Compliance.

Frank is a registered microbiologist with the American Academy of Microbiology and holds memberships with several professional associations. Frank received his B.Sc. in Microbiology from the University of Central Florida and his Master of Public Health from the University of South Florida.

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

  • Traditional food safety management vs. behavior-based food safety management
  • Creating a successful food safety culture at Walmart
  • Food safety programs implemented at Walmart stores
  • Working with suppliers to improve food safety
  • Walmart's initiatives around poultry and deli meat safety
  • How Walmart associates use handheld technology for daily and periodic food safety checks
  • His thoughts on blockchain technology, what it is, how it can improve the future of food safety, and how it could have possibly prevented past outbreaks
  • How Walmart has started using blockchain traceability with some produce items
  • Working with small suppliers who may be exempt from federal food safety regulations
  • Advice for new food safety professionals

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

News Mentioned in This Episode
Chipotle to Retrain All Workers on Food Safety After Ohio Episode 
Chipotle Illness Outbreak; Employees Must Take Food Safety Test 
Delaware General Health District-Aug. 16 Update 
Caito Foods' pre-cut melon recall and Salmonella outbreak 
Caito Foods' salad Cyclospora outbreak
McDonald's/Fresh Express salad Cyclospora outbreak 
Court Orders EPA to Ban Chlorpyrifos, Pesticide Tied to Children's Health Problems 
Court Orders Trump EPA to Ban Controversial Pesticide 
Three Companies Flip; Reveal Suppliers of Romaine Linked to Deadly E. coli Outbreak
CDC's final romaine lettuce outbreak update

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