John Butts is the vice president of research at Land O’Frost. He first joined the company in 1974. His focus there includes the application of scientific principles and quality management technology to develop sanitation process control methods and procedures. 

John is mostly known for the development of the “seek and destroy” process controls for Listeria which has been adopted throughout the food industry. He is a leading expert on sanitary design and food safety culture and has given over 100 presentations including the North American Meat Institute Listeria Intervention and Control workshops.

John is also the founder and president of FoodSafetyByDesign LLC, a private consulting firm he established in 2010. There, he aims to help producers of high-risk products learn how to prevent and manage food safety risks. Listeners can reach him directly by emailing him at

Finally, John is a longtime member of the Food Safety Magazine Editorial Advisory Board, along with having written numerous articles for the publication. He received the FSM Distinguished Service Award in 2006. 

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

  • The many reasons why Listeria's presence in meat has diminished over the years
  • The importance of physical barriers and hygienic zoning within a food facility
  • Why Listeria is so problematic in both wet and dry environments
  • The proper processes of cleaning, sanitizing, disassembling equipment, and surface sampling
  • Problems associated with cleaning and disassembling equipment
  • Where Listeria actually comes from, and where it's commonly found
  • The definition of a harborage site
  • Unique ways to sanitize food facility equipment
  • The importance of having a multidisciplinary team in place
  • Sanitary design, sampling, and how keeping up with these tasks can save money
  • The three fundamental types of sampling

Food Safety Magazine articles written by (or featuring) John Butts:
Land O’Frost: Breaking Ground in Sanitary Facility Design

The Supply Chain and Food Safety Culture: Processing

Seek & Destroy: Identifying and Controlling Listeria monocytogenes Growth Niches

The Journey to a State of Control

Related Content:
2014 Sanitary Equipment Design Taskforce (checklist and glossary)
YouTube Video: Weber--Steaming a Ready-to-Eat Slicer 
Blockchain Explained—Reuters infographic

News Mentioned in This Episode:
Walmart's Blockchain Food Traceability Initiative 
FDA Recall/Retail Disclosure Draft Guidance (includes instructions to submit public comments)
Congresswoman DeLauro Questions Ground Beef Recall Timeline

Presenting Sponsor: Eurofins

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