Sara Mortimore, M.Sc., FRSPH, MIFST, is the Vice President and Global Subject Matter Expert for Food Safety at Walmart Inc. In her role, Sara is responsible for the global development and oversight of all food safety programs, compliance, and initiatives for the company's 10,500 stores, owned manufacturing facilities, and distribution and fulfilment centers. This includes the supplier and supply chain food safety program.

Prior to joining Walmart in May 2019, Sara held the position of Vice President of Product Safety, Quality, and Regulatory Affairs with enterprise-wide responsibility at Land O'Lakes Inc. In this capacity, she covered both human and animal foods and supported nonprofit international development work. 

Sara began her career with Glaxo SmithKline as a Research Technologist in research and development. In 1989, she joined Grand Metropolitan Foods, which later became Pillsbury and was subsequently incorporated by General Mills Inc. There, she held various roles leading supply chain food safety, quality, and regulatory teams in international markets. 

Sara is also the co-author of several successful books, book chapters, and papers on Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) and food safety management. She has served on the board of trustees for the Royal Society of Public Health and is a Steering Committee member of the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). Sara also serves on the Educational Advisory Board of the Food Safety Summit. 

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In this episode of Food Safety Matters, we speak with Sara [3:53] about:
  • The challenges and opportunities she has experienced throughout her career overseeing food safety at the world’s largest retailer, as well as major-brand food companies
  • Lessons learned during Walmart’s testing phase of its Product Design Hazard Analysis (PDHA) program, a food safety program for private-label suppliers that was launched in 2022 and is now being rebranded as the Strive for Excellence program
  • Walmart’s tech-driven efforts to improve food safety assurance and steps the company is taking to enable greater control over its supply chain
  • Walmart’s “one global team” approach to food safety culture, and how Sara and her team works to instill this culture across the company and its supply chain, as well as how the success of these food safety culture efforts are measured
  • Walmart’s membership with the Alliance to Stop Foodborne Illness, and how Sara and the company work to demonstrate to consumers that food safety is a priority for Walmart
  • Challenges Sara has experienced throughout her career when it comes to ensuring that supplier HACCP plans are adequate, especially when suppliers may span the globe and have access to different resources and technologies
  • Sara’s views on the most crucial food safety issues for the retail sector and food industry to address in the near- and long-term.

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