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.
Sean Leighton is the vice president of food safety and quality for Cargill, based in Wayzata, MN. In August 2018, Sean will be moving into the role of vice president corporate food safety, quality and regulatory for Cargill when Mike Robach retires.
Prior to joining Cargill, Sean worked for over 13 years at The Coca-Cola Company in various roles across quality, food safety, and environmental sustainability. He worked in the U.S., Canada, and Europe.
Sean has a B.Sc. in Bacteriology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a Master of Science degree in Food Science from the University of Minnesota, and an MBA from Emory University.
Sean sits on the advisory board of many organizations, including the International Association for Food Protection's Journal of Food Protection, The Center for Food Safety (University of Georgia), the Grocery Manufacturers Association's Science & Education Foundation, and the Food Fraud Think Tank (Michigan State University).
Sean is also a member of the Food Safety Magazine Editorial Advisory Board.
In this episode of Food Safety Matters, we speak to Sean about:
Food safety vs. food quality culture
The difference between making safety decisions vs. quality decisions
How food safety and quality are sometimes at odds with other corporate departments and their business goals
Making the case for food safety when cost-benefit is at play
Building a food safety culture with the younger, millennial workforce, and dealing with quick turnover rates
Sean's thoughts on today's biggest food safety challenges
Connecting the dots between food safety, technology, finance, and all other parts of a business
How earning an MBA has shaped his career path
His mentors and influencers over the years
What he believes is the next big opportunity for food safety
In this special BONUS episode of Food Safety Matters, we focus on the topic of blockchain and how it can be used within the food industry.
You will learn all about what exactly blockchain is, its history, and how it can be applied to our food supply chain.
To help us better understand blockchain's use in the food sector, our editorial director, Barbara Van Renterghem, spoke with two experts from FoodLogiQ.
Katy Jones is the chief marketing officer at FoodLogiQ. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a master’s degree in data marketing communications from West Virginia University.
Charles Irizarry is the chief technology officer at FoodLogiQ. He oversees technology efforts and core company building activities at FoodLogiQ. His experience includes managing sophisticated, multi-disciplinary technology teams, having launched over 20 different platforms and products across multiple businesses and industries. With a background in distributed computing systems and cloud-based software architectures, Charles is currently focused on innovation in the areas of natural language processing, machine learning, and real-time computational networks. He has a bachelor’s degree from Florida International University in business management and marketing.
FoodLogiQ, together with a select group of customers, recently announced the launch of a Blockchain pilot. AgBiome Innovations, Subway®- Independent Purchasing Cooperative, Testo, Tyson Foods and others are partnering with FoodLogiQ to test the application of blockchain to raise transparency within their own supply chains.
In this episode, we speak to FoodLogiQ about:
The history and concept behind blockchain technology
How and why more people, companies, and industries are investing in blockchain, even if prematurely
How blockchain could potentially impact and benefit the food industry
"Public" vs. "permissioned" blockchains
FoodLogiQ's blockchain pilot
How blockchain might play a role in boosting consumer confidence in a time of many foodborne illness outbreaks and food product recalls
How food suppliers, manufacturers, and operators can prepare for blockchain
Prior to joining IIT, Dr. Brackett served as senior vice president and chief science and regulatory officer for the Grocery Manufacturers Association.
Before that, he served at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA's) Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN). His initial role there was as a senior microbiologist. After several promotions, Dr. Brackett was appointed CFSAN director, where he provided executive leadership to CFSAN’s development and implementation of programs and policies relative to the composition, quality, safety, and labeling of foods, food and color additives, dietary supplements, and cosmetics.
Earlier in his career, Dr. Brackett held professorial positions with North Carolina State University and the University of Georgia.
Dr. Brackett has been honored with the FDA Award of Merit, the FDA Distinguished Alumni Award, the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary’s Award for Distinguished Service, the International Association for Food Protection's President’s Appreciation Award, and the William C. Frazier Food Microbiology Award.
Bob received his doctorate in food microbiology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is a member of the Food Safety Magazine editorial advisory board.
In this episode of Food Safety Matters, we speak to Bob Brackett about:
The impetus behind starting IIT
IIT's collaborative research practices
His research on nanotechnology in the food industry and why he thinks that type of research has become less of an industry focus
The growing interest in researching the survival and elimination of pathogens from low-moisture ingredients
New technologies being used in food safety: high-pressure, pulse light, and cool plasma
IIT's Biocontaminant Pilot Plant
Current studies and research that may help to explain what happened in the recent romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak, and the 2006 spinach outbreak
Joint research with FDA that found an effective way to clean pipes and rid them of Salmonella bacteria in a peanut butter production facility
IIT's work with NOROCORE and norovirus interventions
What goes on at the Center for Nutrition Research, the Center for Process Innovation, and the Center for Specialty Programs
The most innovative developments to come out of IIT
Mike Robach is vice president, corporate food safety, quality, & regulatory for Cargill based in Minneapolis, MN. Mike joined Cargill in January 2004 to lead the company’s corporate food safety and regulatory affairs programs. Since then, Mike has increased the department’s scope to include animal health and quality assurance. He continues to refocus the department toward global efforts in line with Cargill’s vision of being the global leader in nourishing people.
Mike began his career with Monsanto Company. Prior to joining Cargill, he headed up technical services for Conti Group’s meat and poultry businesses.
Mike is the past president of Safe Supply of Affordable Food Everywhere, chairman of the Board of Directors of the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), a member of the Scientific and Regulatory Affairs Council Executive Committee for the Grocery Manufacturers Association, and a member of the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association’s Research Advisory Committee.
Mike has worked with the World Organization of Animal Health and the Food and Agriculture Organization on harmonized animal health and food safety standards. He has worked closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regarding food safety policy, Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points, and regulatory reforms based on science. From 1995 through 2000, Mike was a member of the National Advisory Committee for Microbiological Criteria in Foods.
Mike is a graduate of Michigan State University and Virginia Tech.
It was recently announced that Mike will be retiring from Cargill on August 1, 2018, but will be continuing his term as chairman of the GFSI board.
In this episode of Food Safety Matters, we speak to Mike about:
Why GFSI exists, the early days of the organization, and how it has evolved globally over the years
GFSI’s Global Markets Program
Cargill’s involvement with GFSI
GFSI’s primary objectives
What GFSI does and does NOT do
How GFSI works with scheme owners such as BRC, SQF, etc.
His thoughts on the various schemes and how they stack up to FSMA
GFSI compliance vs. FSMA compliance
GFSI’s progress with public/private partnerships
Challenges facing GFSI and goals that GFSI will be working on in the coming years
Everything Food Safety in One Place in Real-Time
KLEANZ is the only complete Food Safety Compliance Solution that focuses on risk mitigation, driving continuous improvement, and adhering to all applicable compliance requirement while managing resources. KLEANZ protects your customers and brand.
Kathy Gombas is a recognized food safety expert with over 30 years of experience in the food industry specializing in preventive controls, supply chain management, food safety auditing, and regulatory affairs.
Kathy retired from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) after 10 years of service. She was a senior advisor at FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN). While at CFSAN, Kathy was in a leadership role supporting the agency’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) implementation efforts including the Preventive Controls Regulator Training and launch of FDA’s FSMA Technical Assistance Network for industry. Kathy also led the implementation of FDA’s Reportable Food Registry.
Before joining FDA, Kathy held senior food safety positions at Dean Foods overseeing food safety programs for their Northeast dairy operations and then the corporate supplier management program. Prior to that, she spent 8 years at Kraft Foods conducting food safety audits worldwide and developing corporate food safety policies.
Kathy is currently a member of the Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance (FSPCA) steering committee and co-chair for the international subcommittee working on industry training, outreach, and technical assistance programs for food companies worldwide. Finally, Kathy is on the Editorial Advisory Board of Food Safety Magazine.
Kathy graduated from Northern Arizona University with a B.Sc. in Microbiology.
In this episode of Food Safety Matters, we speak to Kathy about:
The importance of reading and understanding FSMA guidance documents
Highlights from the Preventive Controls Hazards Guide
How crucial it is to get your hazard analysis right
Remembering to look at all ingredients, including process water and overrun air, when it comes to your manufacturing process and the hazards it may present
Being able to justify what's included--and what's not included--in your hazard analysis
Why importers need to understand Foreign Supplier Verification Program requirements
Bill Marler is the most prominent foodborne illness lawyer in America, and a major force in food policy in the U.S. and around the world. Bill’s firm—Marler Clark: The Food Safety Law Firm—has represented thousands of individuals in claims against food companies whose contaminated products have caused life-altering injuries and even death.
Bill began litigating foodborne illness cases in 1993, when he represented Brianne Kiner, the most seriously injured survivor of the historic Jack in the Box Escherichia coli O157:H7 outbreak, in her landmark $15.6 million settlement with the fast food company. For the last 25 years, Bill has represented victims of nearly every large foodborne illness outbreak in the U.S. He has filed lawsuits and class actions against Cargill, Chili’s, Chi-Chi’s, Chipotle, ConAgra, Dole, Excel, Golden Corral, KFC, McDonald’s, Odwalla, Peanut Corporation of America, Sheetz, Sizzler, Supervalu, Taco Bell, and Wendy’s. Through his work, he has secured over $650 million for victims of E. coli, Salmonella, Listeria, and other foodborne illnesses.
Bill Marler’s advocacy for a safer food supply includes petitioning the U.S. Department of Agriculture to better regulate pathogenic E. coli, working with nonprofit food safety and foodborne illness victims’ organizations, and helping spur the passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act. His work has led to invitations to address local, national, and international gatherings on food safety, including testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce, and the British House of Lords.
Bill travels widely and frequently to speak to law schools, food industry groups, fair associations, and public health groups about the litigation of claims resulting from outbreaks of pathogenic bacteria and viruses, and the issues surrounding it. He gives frequent donations to industry groups for the promotion of improved food safety and has established numerous collegiate science scholarships across the nation.
He is a frequent writer on topics related to foodborne illness. Among other accolades, Bill was awarded the NSF Food Safety Leadership Award for Education in 2010.
In this episode of Food Safety Matters, we speak to Bill Marler about:
The circumstances under which he met the late Dave Theno
The Jack in the Box case and how it propelled his career
The current listeriosis outbreak in South Africa, and how it compares to the Jack in the Box case 25 years ago
Why foodborne illness cases involving hamburger and Escherichia coli are no longer a huge problem
How the Odwalla apple juice outbreak could have been avoided
Whether or not Salmonella should be officially declared an adulterant
The responsibility of food safety: consumer vs. food industry
His thoughts on the ongoing Peanut Corporation of America case and whether or not Stewart Parnell's attempts at a new trial are valid
FSMA, and how the new regulations can be improved
Blockchain, whole-genome sequencing, and other technologies that are changing the food safety for the better
His newfound interest in public health as it relates to food safety
Melanie Neumann is the president of Neumann Risk Services, and executive vice president of Matrix Sciences—a firm that focuses on food safety risk management, business and brand protection, regulatory compliance, and industry best practices. Melanie leverages her 19 years of industry experience as a food law attorney along with her Masters of Science in Food Safety to help clients manage the risks relating to each step in the supply chain, from supplier assessment and procurement, manufacturing, distribution and sale of food globally.
She is a graduate of Mitchell-Hamline Law School for her Juris Doctorate degree, and Michigan State University for her M.S. in Food Safety. She has worked for multi-national food companies such as Hormel Foods, The Schwan Food Company, private law firms focusing on food law and intellectual property law, was instrumental in launching national food safety risk management practices for one of the “Big 4” tax and auditing firms as well as for other well-known consulting firms.
She is an Adjunct Professor at Michigan State University and serves on advisory panels and boards of several notable organizations. Melanie is a frequent speaker on executive liability in food production and food regulations including FSMA regulations. Outside of her profession, Melanie is an avid triathlete, to date completing 25 marathons and six Ironman triathlons.
In this episode of Food Safety Matters, we speak to Melanie Neumann about:
The level of difficulty involved when it comes to food companies having to implement FSMA
The difference between understanding a regulation vs. implementing it vs. operationalizing it
How much legal interpretation is really required to understand how to properly implement FSMA
Melanie’s view of how FDA regulators and food companies are working together during inspections in the beginning stages of FSMA
The importance of explaining the "why" behind FSMA regulations, why they exist, and why behaviors in the food facility need to change
FSMA's effect on global food companies
How FSMA stacks up against ISO, GFSI and international standards in general
What happens during an FDA inspection if a QA manager or food safety staff member cannot answer questions accurately or knowledgeably
The number one factor that causes a food plant to be non-compliant with some part of a FSMA rule or regulation
How poor records management can make or break a food company, and the benefits of electronic record-keeping
What's involved in a readiness assessment?
Crisis management planning and after-action assessments
Melanie's thoughts on mock recalls and crisis simulations
Why food companies can no longer afford to ignore social media and what people are saying about their products