Patrick Guzzle, M.P.H., M.A. is the Vice President of Food Science for the National Restaurant Association. He has been involved in retail food safety for over 20 years, since his wife contracted Escherichia coli O157:H7. Patrick’s career in food safety began as an Environmental Health Specialist in the Southeastern Idaho Public Health District. He later became the Environmental Health Supervisor and was involved in all aspects of environmental health. In 2004, Patrick was hired as the Idaho Food Protection Program Manager with the State Division of Public Health. During that time, he served as President of the Idaho Environmental Health Association. In 2018, Patrick started Mountain West Food Safety LLC and was the Principal Consultant. In addition to helping several clients strengthen their own food safety efforts, Patrick regularly taught ServSafe® courses throughout Idaho and Eastern Oregon. Patrick has been an active participant in the Conference for Food Protection (CFP) and has served on several Committees, as well as Chairing Council II within the CFP. He served as Chair of the CFP from 2016–2018. He has received several commendations for his collaborative efforts with other organizations over the years. Patrick is an active member of the Association of Food and Drug Officials, the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA), and the Western Association of Food and Drug Officials. He is also an adjunct professor of Public Health at Boise State University. Patrick received an M.P.H., an M.A. in Anthropology, and a B.A. in Spanish from Idaho State University.

Melissa Ham, R.E.H.S., is a North Carolina native who has spent over half of her life working in Environmental Health. Her career started in 1989 with a local health department Environmental Health Programs. In 2001, she continued her career as an Environmental Health Regional Specialist. During her 18 years at the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, she worked with local health department programs, served on committees, and was tasked with coordination of the FDA Retail Program Standards. In 2010, Melissa worked to adopt the most current FDA Food Code in North Carolina. Since retirement, she has been working part time in the field, and was recently hired by Wake County Environmental Services as the Retail Program Standard Coordinator through the FDA Capacity Building grant. 

Glenda R. Lewis, M.S.P.H., is the Director of Retail Food Protection Staff at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (FDA’s CFSAN) in the Office of Food Safety. Between beginning at FDA in 1996 and serving in her current role, Glenda started as a Team Member in, and then spent 14 years as Team Leader of, CFSAN's Retail Food Policy Team, with responsibility for leading the team in developing, revising, and interpreting regulations, model codes (such as the FDA Food Code), and federal guidelines that pertain to retail-level food operations (e.g., restaurants, retail food stores, food vending, and institutional foodservice facilities). Prior to FDA, Glenda served for eight years with the Volusia County Health Department in Florida as an Environmental Health Specialist. She holds a B.S. degree in Biology from Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia and a M.S. degree in Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Andre Pierce, M.P.A. joined FDA in January 2022 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. from North Carolina State University.

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In this episode of Food Safety Matters, we speak with Patrick, Melissa, Glenda, and Andre [24:02] about:

  • How FDA’s Food Code provides a framework of uniformity and consistency in the midst of decentralized retail food safety regulation in the U.S.
  • How the Conference for Food Protection works with FDA and state restaurant associations to make recommendations about and support Food Code implementation
  • The work it took to adopt the Food Code in North Carolina
  • New topics addressed in the most recent Food Code (released in December 2022), and what new responsibilities the changes place on state and local health departments and restaurants
  • Benefits that the Food Code bring to regulators, industry, and consumers
  • The ways in which funding from FDA and NEHA has enhanced North Carolina’s participation in the Retail Food Program Standards
  • How FDA encourages Food Code adoption, for example, though Retail Food Safety Regulatory Association collaborative
  • How the National Restaurant Association incorporates Food Code concepts into ServSafe guidance and resources
  • FDA’s method for keeping the Food Code updated and how it may evolve in the future, and the possibility of a national Food Code implementation strategy.

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