Andre C. Pierce, M.P.A., REHS joined the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in January 2022, serving as the Retail Food Protection Division Director in the Office of State Cooperative Programs (OSCP). He came to the position with 34 years of experience at a local health department in building relationships, sharing knowledge, and promoting quality improvement through the Voluntary Retail Program Standards. Andre earned his B.Sc. degree in Biology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his M.P.A. degree from North Carolina State University.

Ben Chapman, Ph.D. is Head of the Department of Agricultural and Human Sciences, Professor, and Director of the Safe Plates Food Safety Extension and Research Program at North Carolina State University. With the goal of reducing foodborne illness, his group researches food handling and food safety systems, designs and implements food safety strategies, and evaluates messages and media from farm-to-fork. Since February 2020, Dr. Chapman has been providing guidance to the food sector on issues related to food safety and COVID-19. He is the Co-Chair of the STOP Foodborne Illness Board of Directors, an advocacy group for individuals affected by foodborne pathogens. Dr. Chapman also co-hosts two podcasts, Food Safety Talk and Risky or Not, and is active on social media (@benjaminchapman on Twitter).

John Zimmermann is the Vice President of Quality Assurance and Food Safety with First Watch restaurants. John has over 35 years of experience in the quality assurance and food safety field within the food processing, distribution, and foodservice industry. He serves as brand protector and ambassador at First Watch by creating, implementing, and maintaining a world-class, end-to-end quality assurance and food safety philosophy that ensures that only high-quality and safe food is served to all First Watch customers. He is responsible for establishing food safety and quality standards and developing, implementing, and leading programs and practices that will have direct impact on food safety, quality, customer satisfaction, and innovation.

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In this episode of Food Safety Matters, we speak with Mr. Pierce, Dr. Chapman, and Mr. Zimmerman [3:44] about:

  • The ways in which FDA supports state, local, tribal, and territorial (SLTT) jurisdictions in reducing the risk of foodborne illnesses in retail foodservice environments, such as through the Retail Program Standards and the Food Code
  • The importance of leadership and “storytelling” in driving an organization’s food safety behavioral and cultural changes
  • Why First Watch designed its food safety management system (FSMS) to consider accountability, consistency, awareness, and proactivity
  • Ongoing research related to behavioral science and food safety, and how thought processes in this area are advancing industry application of knowledge
  • Industry’s contributions to the field of food safety science through sharing experiences
  • How FSMS and complimentary tools can address the operational challenges industry is facing when striving to ensure food safety
  • Ways in which stakeholders are attempting to measure food safety culture within retail food establishments
  • Food safety culture best practices implemented by First Watch
  • Why training and engagement efforts are crucial to better connecting with the changing foodservice industry workforce.

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