For National Food Safety Education Month, which falls annually in September, Food Safety Magazine (FSM) will be hosting a series of special webinars and podcasts on the eventful history of food safety, evolutions in how food safety is conceptualized and executed, and what the future may hold for the sector.

In celebration of the month, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials—including Deputy Commissioner Frank Yiannas—and industry leaders will join FSM for two webinars on regulatory initiatives and practical insights for foodservice establishments, the former being the first of a four-part series that is being jointly produced with FDA. FSM will also release a special, four-part series of Food Safety Matters podcasts, featuring several guests of note, to explore one historic foodborne illness outbreak and three important books that chronicle seminal events in food safety.

Discussing the New Era of Smarter Food Safety with FDA—Part One of Four

On Tuesday, September 20, 2022, at 3:00 P.M. Eastern Time (ET), FSM and FDA will kick off a four-part webinar series, titled, Evolution of a New Era: Advancing Strategies for Smarter Food Safety, with “FDA’s Smarter Tools—How Remote Regulatory Assessments Help Ensure Food Safety.” The debut event will feature Frank Yiannas, M.P.H., FDA’s Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response; Vinetta Howard-King, Director of FDA’s Office of Human and Animal Food Operations, East; and Roberta Wagner, M.S., the Consumer Brands Association’s Vice President of Regulatory and Technical Affairs, who also has over 30 years of prior experience as a regulator. The four webinars will comprise the most in-depth series looking into FDA's New Era of Smarter Food Safety both inside and outside FDA.

“FDA’s Smarter Tools—How Remote Regulatory Assessments Help Ensure Food Safety” will focus on Core Element 2 of the New Era blueprint: smarter tools and approaches for foodborne illness outbreak prevention and response. The webinar will highlight the "smarter tools" that FDA is using to improve the safety of the U.S. food supply, including remote regulatory assessments (RRAs), which are being employed at both foreign and domestic food facilities to ensure compliance with Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) mandates. Register here!

Upcoming webinars in the Evolution of a New Era: Advancing Strategies for Smarter Food Safety series will broach topics such as:

  • Tech-enabled traceability
  • New business models and retail modernization
  • Food safety culture.

Designing and Executing Food Safety Management Systems, According to Industry Leaders

Among all causes of foodborne illness outbreaks in the U.S., foodservice establishments continue to cause the greatest percentage of foodborne illness outbreaks each year (approximately 60 percent). On Thursday, September 29, 2022, at 2:00 P.M. ET, industry experts will join FSM for a webinar, “Food Safety Management Systems Design and Execution,” to discuss the need for a paradigm shift around how risk is managed in foodservice establishments, as well as how such a paradigm shift can be achieved. Hal King, Ph.D., CEO and Managing Partner of Active Food Safety, and John Zimmermann, Vice President of Quality Assurance and Food Safety at First Watch Restaurants, will explore how industry can establish prerequisite programs and food safety management systems (FSMS) that are based on controlling the hazards associated with food preparation and service in all foodservice establishments. Register here!

Special Food Safety Matters Podcasts: The Storied Past of Food Safety

Throughout September, FSM’s Food Safety Matters podcast will be offering special content, with a unique episode for each week of National Food Safety Education Month. Three important books that chronicle seminal events in food safety will be discussed with industry leaders, an author, and a subject of one of the books. Certain episodes will also look at the historically significant Jack-in-the-Box foodborne illness outbreak.

  • Tuesday, September 6, 2022: The Poison Squad by Deborah Blum—Author Deborah Blum will discuss her book, The Poison Squad, which details the beginnings of FDA and the first food safety regulation in the U.S., The Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906. In a separate interview, Larry Keener, food safety scientist and consultant, will share his thoughts on the book’s story from the viewpoint of industry.
  • Tuesday, September 13, 2022: The Jungle by Upton SinclairThe Jungle exposed unsanitary practices in the meatpacking industry in the early 20th century and led to reforms including the Meat Inspection Act of 1906. This episode will feature Dr. John Butts, a food processing scientist known for his groundbreaking food safety developments in sanitation and sanitary design, pathogen intervention, and process control, on the events of The Jungle and how they tie into modern food safety and sanitation in meat and poultry processing.
  • September 20: Poisoned by Jeff BenedictPoisoned tells the story of the 1993 Jack-in-the-Box E. coli outbreak that took the lives of four children and sickened more than 600 people. Bill Marler, the nation's leading foodborne illness attorney and the subject of the book, will discuss the events of the book in this episode. Mr. Marler began his career representing Brianne Kiner, the most seriously injured survivor of the outbreak.
  • Tuesday, September 27, 2022: Michael Taylor, Former FDA and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Official—The Jack-in-the-Box E. coli outbreak of 1993 is considered by many to mark the beginning of the modern era of food safety. In a conversation about the outbreak’s aftermath, FSM will be joined by Michael Taylor, a nationally recognized food safety expert that has served in many high-level positions at FDA and USDA. Mr. Taylor served as Administrator of USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) in the wake of the outbreak and oversaw the implementation of the regulations that followed, including declaring E. coli O157:H7 an adulterant in raw ground beef.

Listen to the podcasts via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, the Food Safety Matters page, or wherever podcasts can be found!

For additional National Food Safety Education Month resources, keep up with FSM’s ongoing coverage of the offerings provided by regulatory agencies and industry groups!