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.
Phil Kafarakis is president of the Specialty Food Association, where he is an advocate and spokesman for the $140 billion U.S. specialty food industry. Prior to his appointment in 2016, he served as the Chief Innovation & Member Advancement Officer at the National Restaurant Association. He has held positions at Kraft, McCormick & Co., Cargill, and Jones Dairy Farm. He received an MBA from the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University in Washington, DC.
Vanessa Coffman, Ph.D. is the Director of the Alliance to Stop Foodborne Illness. She has a diverse background in food safety and sustainability, with a focus on environmental exposures across the food system. Dr. Coffman has conducted various research for the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), on topics such as farming opportunities in post-war Sierra Leonne, occupational and residential exposures from large pork production operations in rural North Carolina, and the association between nitrate in drinking water from food animal operations and fetal health outcomes. Dr. Coffman previously worked at Stop Foodborne Illness as a policy analyst, and she has testified in front of U.S. government officials, authored peer-reviewed papers, and helped draft federal regulations.
Dr. Coffman received a Ph.D. in Environmental Epidemiology from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and an M.S. degree from the University of California–Berkeley in Global Public Health and the Environment.
Sherry Brice-Williamson, M.B.A. is the Vice President of Global Quality and Food Safety at the Kellogg Company, where she oversees end-to-end food safety and quality for Kellogg's internal and external network. Sherry has over 20 years of experience in the industry and joined Kellogg in 2012 as part of the Pringles acquisition from P&G. She has served in numerous supply chain roles in the company, ranging from operations to quality. Sherry was promoted to Vice President of Global Food Safety and Quality in January 2020.
Sherry is on the SSAFE board of directors and is affiliated with a number of other industry associations such as Stop Foodborne Illness, where she is an Alliance member. Sherry also co-chairs the national chapter of KAARG (Kellogg African American Resource Group). Sherry holds B.S. and M.B.A. degrees in Business Management and is a member of the Golden Key International National Honors Society.
Megan Kenjora, M.P.A. is the Senior Manager of Food Safety Culture at The Hershey Company, where she leads a diverse global team to embed food safety in the hearts and minds of all Hershey employees. Megan has extensive experience building relationships among diverse groups, getting cross-functional support, and effectively communicating messages across cultures.
Megan was an engaged member of the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) Technical Working Group that authored the GFSI position paper, “A Culture of Food Safety,” and served as the inaugural chair of the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) Food Safety Culture Professional Development Group. Bringing a passion for food safety culture, she currently serves on the planning committee and numerous working groups as part of the Alliance to Stop Foodborne Illness.
A combat veteran who served eight years in the U.S. Army, Megan came to Hershey in 2014 from Raytheon, where she specialized in adult learning for various intelligence courses. She is a lifelong learner and an advocate for DEI, serving as a co-lead for the Hershey Veterans Business Resource Group. Megan is an M.B.A. candidate at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, and she holds an M.P.A. from Penn State University, B.A. degrees in Political Science and Classics from Bucknell University, and a Korean linguist certification from the Defense Language Institute.
David W.K. Acheson, M.D., F.R.C.P., is the President and CEO of The Acheson Group, a consulting firm that provides strategic advice on all matters relating to food safety and food defense, as well as recall and crisis management support, to food companies and ancillary technology companies around the world.
Prior to founding The Acheson Group in 2013, Dr. Acheson served as the Chief Medical Officer in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (FDA's CFSAN). Following several other positions at FDA, he was appointed Associate Commissioner for Foods, which gave him an agency-wide leadership role for all food and feed issues, including health promotion and nutrition. Dr. Acheson was also a partner at Leavitt Partners and managed Leavitt Partners Global Food Safety Solutions from 2009 to 2013.
Dr. Acheson graduated from the University of London Medical School in 1980. Following training in internal medicine and infectious diseases in the UK, in 1987 he moved to the New England Medical Center and Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts. As an Associate Professor at Tufts University, Dr. Acheson undertook basic molecular pathogenesis research on foodborne pathogens, especially Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli.
Michael Cramer started his food career with Swift and Company at a turkey processing facility in eastern Pennsylvania while attending West Chester University. He graduated in 1977 with a B.S. degree in Health Education. During his career with Swift and Company, he was Quality Assurance (QA) Manager at plants in Pennsylvania and North Carolina, a Production Specialist, and a Documentation Manager at the corporate headquarters.
In 1993, Michael started with Specialty Brands Inc. in Ontario, Canada, where he was Director of Food Safety and Quality. He spent 27 years with the company, and remained as Senior Director of Food Safety and Quality Assurance (FSQA) through the purchase by Ajinomoto Foods North America Inc. He developed and implemented programs to ensure production of safe, quality, ethnic frozen foods. Mike retired from Ajinomoto Foods in July 2021.
Mike has been a member of the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP), and was part of the FSQA team at Ajinomoto Foods that won the prestigious Black Pearl Award in 2020. In addition to authoring Food Plant Sanitation, he is also on the Editorial Advisory Board of Food Safety Magazine and has written articles for Food Safety Magazine dealing with Listeria control, biosecurity, sanitation, and sanitary design, and allergens. He was also a contributing member of the American Frozen Foods Institute (AFFI) Listeria Working Group. In addition, he has participated in multiple Food Safety Matters podcasts, conducted food sanitation webinars, and has been a presenter at numerous food safety and quality conferences. He remains active in retirement, giving back to the industry.
Dr. Alissa Welsher is Associate Senior Consultant at Elanco Poultry Food Safety. Dr. Welsher received her B.S. degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Pittsburgh, as well as an M.S. degree in Poultry Science and a Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology from the University of Arkansas. Her area of expertise is molecular physiology, and she specializes in heat stress and gut health.
Stephen Hughes is Prevention Coordinator within the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN), within the Office of Food Safety at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). After outbreaks and adverse incidents, he runs a systematic process to identify and implement public health interventions intended to help limit or prevent future outbreaks linked to certain FDA-regulated foods. Before coming to FDA, Stephen worked in a public health program in Virginia, in program areas that included food safety, indoor air quality, aquatic health, and general environmental health.
Dr. Jennifer McEntire is Chief Food Safety and Regulatory Officer at the International Fresh Produce Association. Prior to the merger of United Fresh and Produce Marketing Association, Jennifer was Vice President of Food Safety and Technology at United Fresh Produce Association.
A food microbiologist by background, she has always worked in the Washington D.C., area, bringing a scientific perspective to food safety regulatory issues. She was previously Vice President of Science Operations at the Grocery Manufacturers Association. She has served as Vice President and Chief Science Officer at The Acheson Group and as the Senior Staff Scientist and Director of Science and Technology Projects at the Institute of Food Technologists.
Jennifer earned a Ph.D. from Rutgers University as a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Needs Fellow in food safety. She serves as an advisory board member of the Global Food Traceability Center, the technical committee of the Center for Produce Safety, and she is on the executive committee of the Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance.
Kimberly (Kim) Livsey is a Senior Emergency Response Coordinator in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA's) Office of Regulatory Affairs' (ORA’s) Office of Human and Animal Food Operations. In addition to more than 20 years of federal service at FDA, she has leveraged her expertise in food safety oversight and emergency management at the state and local government levels. Prior to her time at FDA, she was an environmental health specialist with the DeKalb County Board of Health in Decatur, Georgia, where she served as a supervisor and trainer in the food protection program.
Kim has led incident response, management, and command activities on the frontlines of multiple natural disasters, including Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav, and Irma. She has also contributed to leadership and planning for food safety and defense at numerous special event operations, including the international G-8 summit, The World Games 2022, Democratic and Republican political conventions, and Presidential inaugurations.
In March 2022, Kim spent seven weeks leading the ORA Incident Management Team in response to adverse events associated with the use of powdered infant formula products. She and her 37-person team took action as part of FDA’s response, including facility inspection, product sample analysis, consumer complaint triage, state sample request coordination, media inquiry response, and enforcement action initiation.