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.
John Butts is the vice president of research at Land O’Frost. He first joined the company in 1974. His focus there includes the application of scientific principles and quality management technology to develop sanitation process control methods and procedures.
John is mostly known for the development of the “seek and destroy” process controls for Listeria which has been adopted throughout the food industry. He is a leading expert on sanitary design and food safety culture and has given over 100 presentations including the North American Meat Institute Listeria Intervention and Control workshops.
John is also the founder and president of FoodSafetyByDesign LLC, a private consulting firm he established in 2010. There, he aims to help producers of high-risk products learn how to prevent and manage food safety risks. Listeners can reach him directly by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, John is a longtime member of the Food Safety Magazine Editorial Advisory Board, along with having written numerous articles for the publication. He received the FSM Distinguished Service Award in 2006.
In this episode of Food Safety Matters, we speak to John Butts about:
The many reasons why Listeria's presence in meat has diminished over the years
The importance of physical barriers and hygienic zoning within a food facility
Why Listeria is so problematic in both wet and dry environments
The proper processes of cleaning, sanitizing, disassembling equipment, and surface sampling
Problems associated with cleaning and disassembling equipment
Where Listeria actually comes from, and where it's commonly found
The definition of a harborage site
Unique ways to sanitize food facility equipment
The importance of having a multidisciplinary team in place
Sanitary design, sampling, and how keeping up with these tasks can save money
Training Courses: Register and browse online for a training course near you Webinar: Is Your EMP Program Hitting the Mark? Watch our recorded webinar White Paper: Download Eurofins' Environmental Monitoring Guide
In this BONUS episode of Food Safety Matters, representatives from Neogen and AOAC INTERNATIONAL discuss the benefits of having testing methods and kits independently approved and certified.
You will learn all about the beginnings of AOAC INTERNATIONAL, how the organization has evolved, and what it means for a company within the food industry to be an affiliate member.
To help us better understand why AOAC INTERNATIONAL membership is a plus, our editorial director, Barbara Van Renterghem, spoke with two experts from both sides of the fence.
Dave Schmidt is AOAC INTERNATIONAL's new executive director as of May 1, 2018. Prior to joining AOAC, he was principal consultant for Schmidt Commonwealth Strategies, LLC. From 2006 to 2015, he served as president CEO of the International Food Information Council (IFIC) and CEO of the IFIC Foundation in Washington, D.C. He joined IFIC in 1993 and held positions from director to executive vice president prior to being elected CEO. Dave also served as the first Bush Administration's director of external affairs for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service where he addressed food safety and nutrition issues and managed the inspection agency’s media, legislative, and consumer education programs. He also gained a thorough understanding of the food industry in previous sales positions with Oscar Mayer Foods, Pepsi-Cola USA, and Canada Dry Corp. He holds a B.A. in business administration from Vanderbilt University, and completed graduate business studies at the University of New Orleans. He has also served the Town of Leesburg, VA, as a town council member.
Dr. Robert Donofrio is the director of food safety research and development for Neogen. He joined Neogen in February of 2016, responsible for the strategic vision, resource management, and coordination of product development activities for the following laboratory groups: Immunodiagnostics, Biochemistry, Neogen Culture Media, Molecular biology, Pathogen Detection and General Microbiology. Dr. Donofrio also oversees the Neogen Validation laboratory which is responsible for performing internal product validation and coordinating third-party product certification and approval through groups such as AOAC, AFNOR, Health Canada, and MicroVal. Dr. Donofrio is also responsible for establishing key collaborations with university and private research centers as well as evaluating novel technologies for potential integration into Neogen’s product portfolio. Prior to Neogen, Dr. Donofrio spent 16 years at NSF International, a public health and safety company. During his tenure at NSF, Dr. Donofrio served as the director of the microbiology lab for over a decade, and then as director of the Applied Research Center for his final 3 years. He was awarded the NSF Star Employee Award in March of 2001 (was nominated for the same award in 2008), and guided his laboratory to the 2006 NSF Team of the Year Award.
Dr. Donofrio obtained his B.S. in biology from the University of Dayton in 1994 and his M.S. in environmental microbiology from Duquesne University in 1996, where he was named Graduate Student of the Year. Dr. Donofrio obtained his doctoral degree in microbiology from Michigan Technological University in May 2009.
Dr. Donofrio has authored dozens of publications for peer-reviewed journals, trade journals, and training materials. He is a full member of the International Association for Food Protection, Society of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology (SIMB), AOAC, American Society for Microbiology, Institute of Food Technology, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has served on the Board of Directors at SIMB for two terms.
In this episode, we speak to Neogen and AOAC INTERNATIONAL about:
AOAC's history, mission, and funding
Future growth opportunities in microbiological testing, dietary supplements, and cannabis
Benefits of being an affiliate member
Method validations offered by AOAC, and options for proprietary methods
AOAC's laboratory proficiency testing program
Performance tested methods program vs. official methods of analysis program
The importance of AOAC approval to an affiliate member
The process of getting a testing method or kit approved by AOAC
Deciding which products will and will not go through the AOAC approval process
Global harmonization efforts
Education and training efforts, particularly for the new generation of scientists
Shawn Stevens is an attorney and founding member of the Food Industry Counsel, a law firm that provides food safety legal and regulatory consulting services exclusively for food industry clients, ultimately helping them anticipate, navigate, and resolve their most pressing food safety challenges.
As a food industry consultant and lawyer, Shawn works throughout the U.S. and abroad with food industry clients (including the world’s largest growers, processors, restaurant chains, distributors, and grocers) helping them protect their brand by reducing food safety risk, complying with U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and U.S. Department of Agriculture food safety regulations, managing recalls, and defending high-profile foodborne illness claims.
Shawn also speaks regularly to audiences on a wide variety of emerging scientific, regulatory, and food safety legal trends. He authors columns for food industry publications, and he is quoted regularly by national media publications such as TIME Magazine, the New York Post, and Corporate Counsel.
In this episode of Food Safety Matters, we speak to Shawn Stevens about:
What he sees as the biggest food safety challenges his clients are facing
The Jack in the Box outbreak and how it changed the food industry
An overview of what happens during FDA's Food Safety Modernization Act inspections
His advice for food companies that expect to undergo a FSMA inspection
What a food company should do in the event of a recall—before, during, and after
The benefits of conducting a high-level mock recall
Consumer responsibility vs. manufacturer/processor responsibility when it comes to ready-to-eat food products
The concept of ready-to-prepare foods
How food safety regulations are beginning to mimic those in the pharmaceutical industry
Food companies' biggest liability
How he would approach food safety in his own food company
Trends in recall insurance and whether FDA will create thresholds for Listeria monocytogenes
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In 2008, Maple Leaf Foods had a devastating outbreak caused by Listeria contamination at one of its prepared meats facilities. It resulted in 23 deaths and many serious illnesses. Since this tragedy, Maple Leaf Foods has committed to becoming a global leader in food safety and has invested significant people and financial resources in achieving this commitment.
Maple Leaf Foods is a leading consumer protein company, making high-quality, innovative products under national brands including Maple Leaf®, Maple Leaf Prime®, Maple Leaf Natural Selections®, Schneiders®, Schneiders® Country Naturals®, Mina®, Lightlife™, and Field Roast Grain Meat Co. ™.
Maple Leaf is one of Canada’s flagship food companies, with sales of $3.3 billion dollars, employing approximately 11,500 people and does business in Canada, the U.S., and Asia. Maple Leaf is headquartered in Mississauga, Ontario.
Michael McCain, President, and CEO of Maple Leaf Foods and Randy Huffman, Chief Food Safety and Sustainability Officer.
Michael has devoted his career to the food industry, starting at McCain Foods in the late 1970's where he held a variety of roles, including President and Chief Executive Officer of McCain Foods USA. He joined Maple Leaf Foods in 1995. Since then, he has been instrumental in establishing Maple Leaf as a strong and sustainable, values-based company with leading brands and a bold vision for the future.
Dr. Randy Huffman joined Maple Leaf in 2009 and is currently Chief Food Safety and Sustainability Officer at the company. This role encompasses Food Safety and Quality, Occupational Health, Safety and Security, Environmental Sustainability and Compliance, Animal Care and Corporate Engineering.
Randy also leads the company's Food Safety Advisory Council, a team of external experts with the mandate to increase Maple Leaf's access to global knowledge and expertise in food safety, including best practices, regulatory compliance, microbiology, and fostering a food safety culture.
Prior to joining Maple Leaf Foods, Dr. Huffman served as President of the American Meat Institute (AMI) Foundation, as well as Senior Vice President Scientific Affairs for 9 years at AMI.
In this episode of Food Safety Matters, we speak to Maple Leaf executives—Michael McCain and Randy Huffman about:
What food safety processes and programs Maple Leaf had in place at the time of the 2008 listeriosis outbreak
How complacency played a part in Maple Leaf's food safety crisis
The steps Maple Leaf took in the hours, days, and weeks after learning of multiple illnesses and deaths
How the tragedy led Maple Leaf to make a long-term food safety commitment to be a world leader in the food industry
How Maple Leaf's story can help other food companies improve and avoid a similar situation
What is believed to be the root cause of Maple Leaf's outbreak
The consequences of not properly addressing positive environmental results
The benefits of implementing a "seek and destroy" strategy
Staying on top of food safety and swab results with a daily conference call that includes executive leadership
The critical importance of segregation in ready-to-eat processing facilities
What Maple Leaf might do differently if an outbreak or recall were to occur today
The establishment of the Food Safety Advisory Council in 2009
How they commemorate the outbreak every August, particularly marking the 10-year anniversary in 2018
Frank Yiannas is the vice president of food safety at Walmart—the world's largest food retailer. In that role, Frank oversees all food safety—as well as other public health functions—for Walmart, serving over 200 million customers around the world on a weekly basis. His scope of responsibilities includes food safety oversight of Walmart’s stores, Neighborhood Markets, and Sam’s Clubs. He is also charged with training and education of associates, food safety oversight of thousands of food suppliers, and a number of critical regulatory compliance issues.
Prior to joining Walmart in 2008, Frank was the director of safety and health for The Walt Disney Company, where he worked for 19 years. In 2001, under his tenure, Walt Disney World received the prestigious Black Pearl Award for corporate excellence in food safety by the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP).
As a frequent speaker at national and international conferences, Frank is known for his ability to build partnerships. He is also known for his innovative approaches to food safety. In 2008, Frank was given the Collaboration Award by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. He is the 2007 recipient of the NSF International Lifetime Achievement Award for Leadership in Food Safety, and the 2015 Industry Professional Food Safety Hero Award by STOP Foodborne Illness. Frank is also a past president of IAFP and a past vice chair of the Global Food Safety Initiative. He is also an adjunct professor in the food safety program at Michigan State University (MSU), and in 2017 was awarded the MSU Outstanding Faculty Award.
Frank is a registered microbiologist with the American Academy of Microbiology and holds memberships with several professional associations. Frank received his B.Sc. in Microbiology from the University of Central Florida and his Master of Public Health from the University of South Florida.
In this episode of Food Safety Matters, we speak to Frank about:
Traditional food safety management vs. behavior-based food safety management
Creating a successful food safety culture at Walmart
Food safety programs implemented at Walmart stores
Working with suppliers to improve food safety
Walmart's initiatives around poultry and deli meat safety
How Walmart associates use handheld technology for daily and periodic food safety checks
His thoughts on blockchain technology, what it is, how it can improve the future of food safety, and how it could have possibly prevented past outbreaks
How Walmart has started using blockchain traceability with some produce items
Working with small suppliers who may be exempt from federal food safety regulations
Dane Bernard is currently the managing director of Bold Bear Food Safety where he offers consulting services. Prior to that, he served as the vice president of food safety and quality assurance at Keystone Foods until 2014. That role also included responsibilities over global programs on Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) and food safety. Before that, Dane was the vice president of food safety for the National Food Processors Association (NFPA)—formerly the National Canners Association—an organization he joined in 1973.
Dane is a registered specialist in food, dairy, and sanitation microbiology with the American Academy of Microbiology. He has also done extensive testing of food processing systems, supervised research in many areas of food safety, and has authored/co-authored many technical articles. Dane has been an instructor and lecturer on principles and applications of HACCP and has helped to formulate HACCP plans for the U.S. food industry. He’s has been invited as an expert to five International Consultations—sponsored by the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization—that dealt with certain aspects of HACCP, risk analysis, and other food safety issues.
Dane received an M.Sc. in Food Microbiology from University of Maryland, College Park. Finally, Dane received the Food Safety Magazine Distinguished Service Award in 2017.
In this episode of Food Safety Matters, we speak to Dane about:
How he got started in the field of food microbiology so early
His 28 years with the National Food Processors Association
Working in the U.S. Army as a food inspector
His thoughts on the shift from HAACP to HARPC (Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls)
How HACCP regulations originated and evolved over the years
The importance of soft skills and learning to work with other divisions within a single organization
His time at Keystone Foods
What it takes to be a good, effective manager
The challenge of getting management to approve additional resources for food safety
Why he hasn't totally and officially retired yet
Where he thinks the food safety needs to focus in the near future
We also speak with Hilary Thesmar (Food Marketing Institute) and Marianne Gravely (U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service) and about:
The processes that retailers use to minimize cross-contamination and keep consumers safe from allergens
The importance of accurate labeling and making sure that every food product only contains ingredients listed on the label
Food allergen labels and what is not required for meat and poultry products regulated by FSIS
The complexities of allergen labeling for ingredients within a supply chain
Allergen labels that are—and are not—required for some food products
Messaging efforts that FMI and FSIS have in place for their respective audiences
About Hilary Thesmar
In her role as the chief food and product safety officer and senior vice president of food safety programs for the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), Dr. Thesmar provides leadership for all safety programs for FMI’s retail and wholesale members and provides support for members on food safety training programs, FSMA training, recall plans and management, crisis management, research, and overall safety and sanitation programs. Dr. Thesmar has a Ph.D. in food technology from Clemson University, an M.Sc. in human nutrition from Winthrop University, a B.Sc. in food science from Clemson, and she is a Registered Dietitian. She has over a decade of experience in scientific and regulatory affairs with food trade associations.
About Marianne Gravely
Marianne joined the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) Meat and Poultry Hotline staff in 1988. As the senior technical information specialist, she provides consumers with safe food handling guidance daily through phone, live chat, and email inquiries and is one of the persons behind the USDA virtual representative “Ask Karen” answering food safety questions. She also researches and writes materials for the Food Safety Inspection Service website, and handles media inquiries. Marianne has a Bachelor of Science degree in home economics with an emphasis on foods and nutrition from Hood College in Frederick, MD. She received her M.Sc. in human nutrition and foods from Virginia Tech.
Earlier this month, the Food Safety Magazine team gathered in Salt Lake City, UT for the Annual Meeting of the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP). The IAFP Annual Meeting was attended by more than 3,800 top industry, academic, and governmental food safety professionals from six continents. Each year, this premiere event for industry professionals convenes and discusses current and emerging food safety issues, the latest science, and innovative solutions to new and recurring problems. The meeting also presents opportunities to network with thousands of food safety professionals from around the globe.
While in Salt Lake City, we invited experts from across the industry to come to our booth and chat with us about all things food safety. Some of those impromptu conversations and interviews are included in our 30th installment of the Food Safety Matters podcast.
In this episode of Food Safety Matters, we spoke to a number of food safety professionals about a variety of hot topics:
Tim Stubbs, National Dairy Council (NDC)
NDC's role within the dairy industry, resources provided, etc.
Various food technologies including atmospheric cold plasma for packaging treatment, antimicrobial use in cheese, and more
Advances inl food safety and technology in the next three to five years.
Will Daniels, IEH Laboratories & Consulting Group
The romaine lettuce outbreak that originated in the Yuma, AZ, growing region (desert Southwest) and new food safety issues that have been brought to the forefront because of it
One health concept: Escherichia coli,Salmonella, and soil… the connection between the animal world and the produce world
Reducing microbial shedding events
Community relations and food safety
Lessons learned from the Earthbound Farms spinach outbreak
Communicating risk within an organization, and publicly
Paul Kiecker, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
His roles within USDA
What “modernizing” does (and does not) mean
What food companies should expect
USDA inspection roles (vs. U.S. Food and Drug Administration roles)
Top priorities at USDA in terms of modernization
Progress with pathogen sampling and whole-genome sequencing use
Salmonella as an adulterant
Standard setting for Campylobacter
Carmen Rottenberg, USDA
An in-depth conversation about USDA's study on consumer handwashing, meal preparation, and thermometer use