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.
Dr. Robert (Bob) Powitz is the principal and technical director of R.W.Powitz & Associates. There, he specializes in forensic sanitation services to industry, law firms, insurance companies, and government agencies. Bob has dedicated his career to food safety having worked for over 54 years to study, develop, and implement the most effective sanitation practices.
Bob has served as director of environmental health and safety and biological safety officer at Wayne State University where he also held the title of Adjunct Associate Professor in the College of Engineering. He also served as director of biological safety and environment for the U.S. Department of Agriculture as well as health director for five different towns in Connecticut.
He is currently the public health consultant for the Bucks County, PA, Department of Corrections.
Bob received his undergraduate education in agronomy and plant pathology from the State University of New York and the University of Georgia. He holds a M.Sc. in Public Health with a specialty in institutional environmental health and a Ph.D. in environmental health, with specialties in environmental microbiology and epidemiology from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. He also has a very long list of honors including, most impressively, a spot on the Food Safety Magazine Editorial Advisory Board.
In this episode of Food Safety Matters, we speak to Bob [15:12] about:
What keeps him so heavily involved in food safety and sanitation
Why it's so crucial to acknowledge and reward good methods and habits when you see them
Why commercial food establishments don't necessarily follow state food codes
In this BONUS episode of Food Safety Matters, we speak to Jerry Heath (staff entomologist) and Sharon Dobesh (director of technical services) from the Industrial Fumigant Company (IFC) about how to set up and utilize a pest management program that is compliant with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and that also works well with a food processor's existing Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points or Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls plan.
In this BONUS episode of Food Safety Matters, we speak to IFC about:
FSMA's impact on how pest management fits into a company's overall food safety plan
The main challenge that pest management clients want to address and learn more about
Changes in how auditors now approach their inspection methods with new regulations in place
Steps that a food company will need to take in order to implement or overhaul their pest program
Mapping tools and how they help companies to better pinpoint the cause and/or source of an infestation
How the trend of going chemical-free is changing the pest management industry
Action thresholds and how they cannot be one-size-fits-all
Asking the right questions when a sudden infestation or unfamiliar insect/rodent species appears
Critical advice about keeping pristine records and documentation
How technology is already changing the future of pest management
Professional certification and other ways to get into the pest management field
Farber worked at Health Canada for a number of years as a research scientist, research division chief, associate director, and director of microbial food safety. His research interests at Health Canada centered around mycotoxins, Listeria monocytogenes, and Cronobacter sakazakii. He also played a large role in developing many of the food safety policies that are currently in place in Health Canada.
Jeff is the former President of the International Association of Food Protection. He also serves on the International Commission on Microbiological Specifications for Foods, the New York Academy of Sciences Committee on Food Safety, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's External Advisory Committee for the Microbial Safety of Foods, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's Advisory Board for Risk-based Inspections.
He earned his Ph.D. in Food Microbiology from McGill University.
In this episode of Food Safety Matters, we speak to Jeff [24:08] about:
How his studies evolved from mycotoxin research to Listeria
At the 21st annual Food Safety Summit in Rosemont, IL, editorial director Barbara VanRenterghem sat down with four food safety pros for real-time insight on the Summit sessions, topics, trends, and more.
Craig Henry is a food safety consultant with Intro Inc. There, he specializes in U.S. food safety program development and review for federal regulatory compliance such as the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). He is a lead instructor for FSMA Preventive Control Qualified Individual training for human food. He also led the contracting team delivering technical content for FSMA human food guidance to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Prior to this role, Craig's previous roles were with Decernis, Deloitte and Touche, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, Koch Foods, Foster Farms, and Cargill, among others.
Gary Ades is president of G&L Consulting Group LLC. He is also a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of Food Safety Magazine.
Paul Kiecker is the Deputy Administrator for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)—a role he's held since May 2018. From August 2017 through January 2019, Kiecker was the agency’s Acting Administrator. He initially joined FSIS in 1988 as a food inspector.
Will Daniels is president of the produce division at IEH Laboratories and Consulting Group. In this role, Will is responsible for lab and consulting services for the produce industry. He's also held past roles at Fresh Integrity Group, Inc., Earthbound Farm, and as a consultant in the foodservice sector. Will is a sought-after speaker and has addressed key issues in food safety in the produce industry at meetings of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Restaurant Association, the Institute of Food Technologists and the International Association for Food Protection. He was named one of the food industry’s top food safety leaders by Marler/Clark’s Food Safety News in 2013. An active leader in the food industry, Will serves on a variety of boards and technical committees.
In this episode of Food Safety Matters, we speak to Craig [9:15], Gary [20:18], Paul [36:05], and Will [47:31] about:
Food Safety Summit's new format, Community Cafes, and the new focus on supply chain management content
Recurring challenges for Summit attendees: keeping up with documentation, lack of resources, little commitment, incorrect reporting, and more
The need for university extensions to bridge the gap with smaller food businesses
Problems associated with incongruent messaging from the government agencies
Why business and financial expertise are needed when making food safety decisions
How changes within the industry are leading to food safety problems not seen in years
Craig Wilson is the vice president, general merchandising manager of quality assurance/food safety, non-foods quality assurance, environmental services/HAZMAT, and merchandise services for Costco Wholesale Corporation.
Prior to joining Costco, Craig worked as a special projects director for Frigoscandia Equipment Food Safety Systems for over 24 years. During his time there, Craig published numerous research papers in the areas of food safety and food processing. He holds many patents, the most notable for steam pasteurization of food. He was the recipient of the Gia/Matek Global Excellence in Food Safety Award.
Craig currently serves on the Global Food Safety Initiative Board, the Center for Produce Safety Board, the Center for Food Integrity Board, and the STOP Foodborne Illness Board.
In this episode of Food Safety Matters, we speak to Craig [17:47] about:
How Costco handles employee food safety training
Costco's four-legged approach to food safety
How Costco approaches food safety and varying regulatory requirements throughout the U.S. and globally
The importance of building relationships with local and state health inspectors
Costco's test and hold program
Using Costco's membership program to keep consumers safe when recalls occur
How Costco manages a supply chain with over 3,000 SKUs per store
How food safety has changed over the past 50 years
Lone Jespersen is principal of Cultivate, an organization dedicated to helping food manufacturers globally make safe, great tasting food through cultural effectiveness. Lone has significant experience with food manufacturing, having previously spent 11 years with Maple Leaf Foods. Following the tragic event in 2008 when Maple Leaf products claimed 23 Canadian lives, Lone lead the execution of the Maple Leaf Foods, food safety strategy, and its operations learning strategy.
Prior to that, Lone worked for Woodbridge Foam as the engineering and operations manager responsible for the safety and quality of automobile safety products. Lone holds a Master's degree in mechanical engineering from Syd Dansk University, Denmark, and a Master's of food science and a Ph.D. from the University of Guelph, Canada.
Mike Robach is chairman of the GFSI board. Up until August 2018, he served as the vice president, corporate food safety, quality, & regulatory for Cargill based in Minneapolis, MN. Prior to joining Cargill, he headed up technical services for Conti Group’s meat and poultry businesses, and began his career with Monsanto.
Mike is the past president of Safe Supply of Affordable Food Everywhere, 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.
Frank Yiannas is the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response, a position he assumed in December 2018. He is the principal advisor to FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb in the development and execution of policies related to food safety, including implementation of the landmark FDA Food Safety Modernization Act. His leadership role within the agency covers a broad spectrum of food safety priorities, such as outbreak response, traceback investigations, product recall activities, and supply chain innovation across the full spectrum of FDA-regulated products.
Prior to joining FDA, Frank was the vice president of food safety at Walmart—the world's largest food retailer. In that role, Frank oversaw 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 included food safety oversight of Walmart’s stores, Neighborhood Markets, and Sam’s Clubs. He was 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).
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's of Public Health from the University of South Florida.
In this episode of Food Safety Matters, we speak toFrank [15:07], and Lone and Mike [25:08] about:
Highlights, key moments, and takeaways from this year's GFSI conference in Nice, France
The value of networking, collaborating, sharing challenges, and learning best practices at GFSI
Projects that GFSI is working on with various government entities, the private sector, academia, and consumers
The Global Markets Program
GFSI's continuous improvement in the areas of benchmarking requirements, technology, certification programs, and capacity building
The emerging trend of e-commerce as a food safety topic to watch
Produce safety as a global issue, not just a North American issue
GFSI's partnerships with STOP Foodborne Illness and Pew Charitable Trusts
GFSI's unique position as the industry's premier place to bring together food industry professionals from all cultures and backgrounds
Improvements that can be made around how food safety performance is measured
Working in the retail/private vs. regulatory sectors
Government's continuously improving response to foodborne illness outbreaks
FDA's future use of blockchain technology and spreading the idea of food safety culture
Dr. David Acheson, is the founder and CEO of The Acheson Group and brings more than 30 years of medical and food safety research and experience to provide strategic advice as well as recall and crisis management support to food companies and ancillary technology companies on a global basis on all matters relating to food safety and food defense.
David graduated from the University of London Medical School and practiced internal medicine and infectious diseases in the United Kingdom until 1987 when he moved to the New England Medical Center and became an Associate Professor at Tufts University in Boston, studying the molecular pathogenesis of foodborne pathogens.
Prior to forming The Acheson Group, David served as the Chief Medical Officer at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service and then joined the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as the Chief Medical Officer at the FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN). After serving as the director of CFSAN’s Office of Food Defense, Communication, and Emergency Response, David was appointed as the Assistant and then Associate Commissioner for Foods, which provided him an agency-wide leadership role for all food and feed issues and the responsibility for the development of the 2007 Food Protection Plan, which served as the basis for many of the authorities granted to FDA by the Food Safety Modernization Act.
From 2009 to 2013, he was a partner at Leavitt Partners where he managed Leavitt Partners Global Food Safety Solutions.
David has published extensively and is internationally recognized both for his public health expertise in food safety and his research in infectious diseases. He is a sought-after speaker and regular guest on national news programs. He serves on a variety of boards and food safety advisory groups of several major food manufacturers.
In this episode of Food Safety Matters, we speak to David [32:48] about:
The food industry's hesitation about speaking openly about food safety and the science behind it
Consumers' lack of trust and understanding when it comes to food science
How the media plays a role in shaping consumer attitudes about food safety
Scientists and their traditional lack of ability to effectively communicate with consumers
The state of food safety today vs. years/decades ago
Why it makes sense that today's food supply is safe despite an increasing number of recalls and outbreaks
Balancing science, public health, consumer demand, and marketing messages
The top misperceptions that consumers have about food