Brian Ronholm, M.A., is the Director of Food Policy for Consumer Reports, where he leads advocacy efforts to advance a safe and healthy food system. He was in public service prior to joining Consumer Reports, having served as Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and before that, as a congressional staff person for Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut.

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In this episode of Food Safety Matters, we speak with Brian [28:55] about:

  • How his prior experience in regulatory policy inform his current consumer advocacy work
  • The FDA Foods Coalition, of which Consumer Reports is a part, and how the Coalition will work with Jim Jones, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Deputy Commissioner for Human Foods, to bring about change
  • The need for stricter limits, testing, and disclosure of toxic heavy metals in baby foods, and FDA’s handling of this issue through its Closer to Zero Initiative 
  • How FDA’s “historic inactivity” regarding food additives may be prompting state-level legislation, such as the California Food Safety Act, and what actions could be taken at the federal level to reign in control over food additives regulation
  • USDA’s proposed regulatory framework to reduce cases of salmonellosis attributable to poultry, and the importance of pathogen testing and enforceable standards
  • Takeaways from the Netflix documentary Poisoned, and the need for constant vigilance and innovation in food safety.

News and Resources:

WGS Helps Solve a Decade-Long Listeria Outbreak Linked to Queso Fresco, Cotija Cheese [6:00]

Recent Outbreaks of Listeriosis Linked to Fresh Soft Queso Fresco Type Cheeses in the U.S.

NACMCF Reports on Reducing Salmonella in Poultry, Advises FSIS on Proposed Regulatory Framework [12:43]

In a 2023 Recap, USDA-FSIS Says it Aims to Publish Formal Regulatory Proposal for Salmonella in Poultry by Early 2024 

Study Highlights Importance of Addressing Biofilm-Forming Pathogens to Control Listeria in Food Processing Facilities [20:03]

Identification of Biofilm-forming Foodborne Pathogens and Development of Prevention Strategies 

FDA Publishes Guidance to Support Seafood Industry in Trying to Get Products Removed From DWPE [23:44]

Nationwide Produce Outbreak: A Moment You Never Forget 

Ep. 15. Will Daniels: "It was a game changer for the industry" 

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