Food Safety Matters is a podcast for food safety professionals hosted by the Food Safety Magazine editorial team – the leading media brand in food safety for over 20 years. Each episode will feature a conversation with a food safety professional sharing their experiences and insights of the important job of safeguarding the world’s food supply.
Tamara Mullin is currently the Director of Safety for FOODWORKS where she oversees food safety procedures and builds upon them to create food safety programs, training, and compliances. Before this, she was the FOODWORKS District Manager. Tamara obtained her degree from the Pennsylvania Institute of Culinary Arts in 1993. Tamara has been working in corporate dining since 1997. She has managed multiple corporate kitchens, rolled out café concepts, and created menus with recipes focused on customer needs.
Adam Friedlander is a Policy Analyst in FDA’s Coordinated Outbreak Response and Evaluation (CORE) Network, where he helps lead the agency’s efforts to advance strategic, tech-enabled traceability initiatives under the New Era of Smarter Food Safety. Through collaboration and by leveraging the power of data, he hopes to help transform the food system to become more digital, transparent, and safe for consumers around the world. Adam graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. degree in Food Science and Operations Management and a minor in Music. He received his M.S. degree in Regulatory Affairs of Food and Food Industries from Northeastern University.
Joseph (Joe) Lasprogata is a longtime seafood veteran with over 30 years in the industry. His love and passion started with his degree in Marine Biology, which took him to several corners of the world to source the best and most unique seafood available, assisting top chefs with menu development, and helping introduce, develop, and distribute over 30 million pounds of seafood annually. As Vice President of New Product Development at Samuels Seafood, he works directly with producers, aquaculture, and multiple non-governmental organizations to introduce new products and develop successful brands. Joe has a true appreciation and unique insight to the seafood industry and its potential upcoming challenges. Most recently, he developed a digital traceability system to comply with both FDA shellfish regulations and the newly instituted Food Traceability Final Rule, FSMA Section 204.
Trevor Craig is the Corporate Director of Technical Training and Consulting at Microbac Laboratories. He is responsible for the direction of Microbac’s food testing, consulting with food manufacturers across the country to help decision-makers optimize their businesses from lab to production to sale. He has been working in the food industry for more than 15 years. He previously worked at other large labs across the country on hundreds of different projects and product types, conducting shelf life, accelerated, and challenge studies for each lab. Trevor’s first role in the industry involved working for an ingredients company with applications to food and agriculture, including antimicrobials used for shelf stability.
Microbac Laboratories helps clients manage food quality and safety risks to protect consumers and their brands. The company’s industry expertise and analytical strength supports food safety programs for compliance with FSMA regulations. Microbac Laboratories serves all food industry segments with services to meet unique needs. Microbac Laboratories offers numerous food testing services including allergen detection, nutrition testing and labeling, GMO analysis, ingredient authenticity, molecular testing, Cyclospora testing, and environmental monitoring.
John Gurrisi, R.E.H.S., is Vice President of Food Safety and Quality (FSQ) at Fresh Express. He has broad food safety responsibility for growing, manufacturing, new product assessment, customer collaboration, supplier management, and regulatory compliance. He leads a multidisciplinary food safety and quality team covering the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, and directs a multimillion-dollar implementation and investment budget.
German Rios is the Senior Director of FSQ for Fresh Express. He is responsible for food safety and quality assurance in growing, manufacturing, new product development, and customer collaboration. From a food safety standpoint, he manages the Fresh Express raw partner product program and ingredient suppliers, encompassing the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. In addition, German guides Fresh Express raw product suppliers on an ongoing basis, and leads the Fresh Express raw product growing and harvesting strategy in Central Mexico.
Jovana Kovacevic, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor and Food Safety Extension Specialist at Oregon State University’s Food Innovation Center (OSU’s FIC) in Portland, Oregon. In her current role, Dr. Kovacevic directs the food safety program at FIC and the Western Regional Center to Enhance Food Safety, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Her research uses molecular methods and whole genome sequencing to trace, better understand, and prevent contamination events in the food chain, with particular focus on Listeria monocytogenes. Her work with the Western Regional Center supports the Western U.S. region in food safety training, education, and outreach activities related to the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).
Prior to joining OSU, Dr. Kovacevic held various positions, including a lecturer at the University of British Columbia, a food safety consultant with the British Columbia Ministry of Health, and a Food Safety Scientist at the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control in Canada.
In this episode of Food Safety Matters, we review the top food safety stories of 2022 and their impacts, the lessons learned, and what the future may hold in 2023 and beyond. Specifically, we discuss COVID-19 and the supply chain, FDA’s Agricultural Water Proposed Rule, food safety culture, the infant formula crisis, USDA-FSIS’ proposed regulatory framework for reducing Salmonella in poultry, the FSMA Food Traceability Final Rule, and the Reagan-Udall Foundation’s review of FDA’s Human Foods Program.
Sandra Eskin was appointed Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in March 2021. In this role, Sandra leads the Office of Food Safety, overseeing the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), which has regulatory oversight for ensuring that meat, poultry, and egg products are safe, wholesome, and accurately labeled.
Prior to joining USDA, Sandra was the Project Director for Food Safety at The Pew Charitable Trusts in Washington, D.C. for over 10 years, and also served as the Deputy Director of the Produce Safety Project (PSP) from 2008–2009, a Pew-funded initiative at Georgetown University. Prior to The Pew Charitable Trusts, Sandra spent nearly 20 years as a public policy consultant to numerous consumer advocacy and public interest organizations, providing strategic and policy advice on food and drug safety, labeling, and advertising. She has served as a member of multiple federal advisory committees related to consumer information on prescription drugs, meat and poultry safety, and foodborne illness surveillance.