Joan Menke-Schaenzer is the chief quality officer at Van Drunen Farms and FutureCeuticals. There, she is responsible for the safety and quality of the company's vegetable and herb growing and processing plants—both conventional and organic—as well as their nutraceutical ingredient business. 

Joan's career has also included food safety and quality roles in manufacturing, foodservice, and retail. She's led McDonalds' global supply chain, safety, and compliance organization. She spearheaded food safety and quality at ConAgra, Walmart, and Kraft as well.

Joan served on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Food Advisory Committee and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control's Board of Scientific Counselors Food Safety Modernization Act Implementation Working Group.

Joan earned her B.Sc. in food science from the University of Wisconsin—Madison.  

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In this episode of Food Safety Matters, we speak to Joan [17:09] about:

  • Challenges she's experienced across the supply chain at various levels of the food industry
  • The importance of communication and soft skills in food safety
  • How creative thinking can advance food safety success
  • Her involvement in past foodborne outbreaks and how being proactive was the best decision for public health
  • Issuing a recall even before a clear root cause was confirmed
  • Gaining support from employers when it comes to joining industry and trade associations
  • Why it's imperative to have existing relationships with regulators before a crisis occurs
  • The benefits of epidemiological traceback and it can help in the event of an outbreak
  • Proactively managing supply chains with GFSI audits
  • Consumer research and combining that with risk assessment
  • The benefits of partnering with suppliers
  • How she used whole-genome sequencing to pinpoint the source of a growth niche
  • Her views on blockchain and how it may not be the answer at all levels of the food supply chain
  • How becoming responsible for profit and loss changed how she approached food safety decision-making
  • Why it's important to build a support network throughout your career

News Mentioned in This Episode
Study: Here's Why Consumers Don't Use Thermometers When They Cook [2:36]
Updated Tomato Metrics [6:23]
Push for a Single Federal Food Safety Agency [9:54] 

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