Jason Richardson, Ph.D. is the Vice President of Global Quality and Food Safety of The Coca-Cola Company, a position he has held since January 2021. In this role, Jason leads a team of quality and food safety professionals who are accountable for delivering global strategic and operational leadership for performance and progress of quality and food safety programs across the Coca-Cola system. 

Jason joined The Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta in 2009, holding a variety of quality, food safety, and technical leadership positions within Coca-Cola North America over the course of his career. Prior to joining The Coca-Cola Company, Jason spent over seven years as a Microbiologist/Collateral Duty Safety Officer with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (USDA’s ARS), conducting research on sanitizers, novel technologies, standard and rapid microbiological detection methods, and the ecology of bacterial foodborne pathogens in foods, achieving more than 150 peer-reviewed publications. 

Jason serves or has served on numerous committees and advisory boards during his career, including SSAFE, Consumer Brands Association, the University of Georgia's Center for Food Safety Board of Advisories and its College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Dean's Industry Advisory Council, USDA's Exotic Newcastle Disease Task Force, and USDA's Committee on Feasibility of "zero tolerance" for Salmonella on raw poultry. He is currently serving as Treasurer for SSAFE. He is active in professional associations, including IAFP, where he serves on several professional development groups.  

Jason obtained his B.S.A. and M.S. degrees, as well as his Ph.D., from the University of Georgia, focusing in Agribusiness, Poultry Science, and Food Science and Technology, with emphases in Food Microbiology and Food Safety. 

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In this episode of Food Safety Matters, we speak with Jason [23:58] about:

  • The evolution of his career, from food safety microbiologist to corporate business leader 
  • The development and implementation of Coca-Cola’s Amplify Quality Framework, an initiative led by Jason to revamp the company’s food safety and quality assurance (FSQA) programs to optimize enterprise-wide performance and growth
  • How Jason balances both food safety and quality assurance through his leadership and with the help of his FSQA teams 
  • Initiatives Jason is working on to refresh Coca-Cola’s food safety culture, and messaging and methods he uses to reinforce good food safety culture throughout the company
  • How Jason contextualizes FSQA as an asset to business performance and growth
  • Balancing cost optimization with FSQA efforts
  • Words of advice for early-career food safety professionals who will be the FSQA leaders of the future.

News and Resources:

FDA Publishes Report About On-Farm Investigations, Sampling of Leafy Greens in Salinas Valley [4:24]

AMR Trends can be Reversed by Decreasing Antimicrobial Use, EU Agencies Report [9:39]

Researchers Call for Improved Surveillance of Yersinia, an Underestimated Threat to Food Safety [16:23]

USDA Develops Egg Pasteurization Technology That Rapidly Kills 99.999 Percent of Salmonella [19:09]

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