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. 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
Jeremy Zenlea is the director of corporate food safety at Cumberland Farms, Inc. In this role, he oversees all aspects of food safety, including regulatory compliance, retail and commissary food safety operations, and supply chain integrity. Jeremy has worked with a variety of different product categories, including refrigerated, high-risk ready-to-eat foods (meat, poultry, pork, and fresh-cut produce), chocolate, and confectionaries. Due to his diverse background, Jeremy has gained a wide range of knowledge of different food products and is an expert in constructing, implementing, and managing complex food safety and food defense systems for large domestic and international food manufacturers. He is an active member of both the Institute of Food Technologists and the International Association for Food Protection, and enjoys lecturing on food safety at local universities and mentoring other food safety professionals in his spare time.
Jeremy received a B.Sc. from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and an MBA from Northeastern University.
In this episode of Food Safety Matters, we speak to Jeremy [11:49] about:
What makes the convenience store environment different—and more complicated—than more traditional outlets that sell food
Why having simple food safety procedures is a plus for all stakeholders
Cold chain issues and temperature monitoring
What he sees as the biggest threat to food safety in the convenience store setting
The difficulties of training and certification for food safety professionals in convenience stores
Turnover, foot traffic, and other challenges that convenience stores face
Effective communication and establishing a positive food safety culture
This BONUS episode of Food Safety Matters is all about Michigan State University's Food Processing and Innovation Center (FPIC). The Center, the first of its kind in the U.S., will be Michigan's leading independent commercial food development, processing, packaging, and research facility. Here, mid- to large-size food companies have access to a real-time production environment to support the creation of new food products.
In this interview, Matt Birbeck (FPIC) and Gerry Broski (Neogen) go into great detail about how the FPIC can help food companies with their research and development efforts.
In this episode of Food Safety Matters, we speak to Matt (FPIC) and Gerry (Neogen) about:
Why the creation of the FPIC was necessary
FPIC's purpose within the food industry
Advantages, benefits, and services for clients who use the FPIC
How the partnership between the FPIC, MSU, and Neogen works
Why mid- and large-size food companies are ideal clients for the FPIC
Food product categories that the FPIC can accommodate
Alternative options for small or start-up food companies
Joe Stout is the founder of Commercial Food Sanitation, a consulting firm that provides food safety and sanitation solutions to food processing plants. Before that, Joe spent nearly 30 years at Kraft Foods. While there, he held a variety of positions related to operations, quality, and sanitation, ultimately leading to his role as Kraft's director of global product protection, sanitation, and hygienic design.
In this role at Kraft, Joe had global responsibility for plant cleaning controls and processes, allergen and pathogen control programs, pest control, and hygienic design for facilities and equipment used in more than 200 Kraft plants. Joe also managed the Global Product Protection Group, assuring global support for internal and external plants.
Joe led the American Meat Institute’s (AMI) Equipment Design Task Force and has led Listeria Intervention training for AMI and the American Frozen Food Institute. He is the current leader of the Grocery Manufacturers Association’s Sanitary Design Working Group. He also conducts allergen training for the Food Allergy Research Resource Program. In addition to his involvement with these and many other leading industry organizations, Joe is a published authority when it comes to food safety, sanitation, hygiene, and other related areas.
In this episode of Food Safety Matters, we speak to Joe [16:19] about:
The basic fundamentals of sanitation in food safety
The persistent problem of Listeria in food processing environments
Sanitation best practices
The problem with preventative and corrective actions
The importance of using science-based approaches
Sanitation training offered by Commercial Food Sanitation
Advice regarding a food plant's implementation of Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (SSOPs)
His thoughts on whether or not SSOPs should be shared amongst the food industry
Technological advancements vs. increasing productivity needs
The 7 Steps of Sanitation developed at Kraft, and the importance of performing those steps in the right order
Hygienic design and its implications regarding the future of food safety
The 10 Principles of Equipment Design
Good—and not so good—things he's seen when touring food processing plants
Sara Mortimer is the vice president of product safety, quality, and regulatory affairs for Land O’Lakes. Over her 30-year career, Sara has worked to ensure the safety and quality of some of the world’s biggest brands—Haagen Daaz, Green Giant, Old El Paso, Nature Valley, and many others.
Sara has co-authored a number of books on Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) and food safety management. In fact, she contributed to Food Safety Magazine's Food Safety Culture eBook! She's also served on Food Control's editorial board and was a trustee of the Royal Society of Public Health for several years.
Sara has been a member of the BRC International Advisory Board for over 10 years, and she's a member of the Grocery Manufacturers Association's Executive Scientific and Regulatory Affairs Committee. Most recently, she has helped review the effectiveness of Codex HACCP and Food Hygiene principles.
In this episode of Food Safety Matters, we speak to Sara about:
The purpose of HACCP, and how it should work together as part of a comprehensive food safety management program
Critical Control Points vs. prerequisite programs
Sara's first experience writing a HACCP plan 30 years ago
Useful resources for writing a good HACCP plan
The seven principles of HACCP
Reasons why companies encounter food safety issues, even with a HAACP plan in place
The difficulties that arise when analyzing a food safety plan against varying global/international standards
The importance of maintenance as a supplemental HACCP principle
How altering a food product's formula (reduced sodium, sugar, etc.) can have massive food safety implications
Why the HACCP vs. HARPC debate doesn't really matter
Professor Chris Elliott is the founder of the Institute for Global Food Security and professor of food safety at Queen’s University Belfast. From 2016–2018, he served as pro-vice-chancellor of the Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences in the University, but stepped down from that post recently to concentrate on his world-leading research.
Chris has published more than 350 peer-reviewed articles, many of them relating to the detection and control of agriculture, food, and environmental related contaminants.His main research interests are in the development of innovative techniques to provide early warning of toxin threats across complex food supply systems. Protecting the integrity of the food supply chain from fraud is also a key research topic. Chris led the independent review of Britain’s food system following the 2013 horsemeat scandal.
Over the years, Chris has developed a high-level network of collaborators across Europe, the U.S., and Asia. He is a visiting professor at the China Agriculture University in Beijing and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, a recipient of a Winston Churchill Fellowship, and is an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, Royal Society of Biology, and the Institute of Food Science and Technology.
Chris has received numerous prizes and awards for his work. In 2017, he was awarded the Royal Society of Chemistry Theophilus Redwood Prize and was also awarded the title of Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
In this episode of Food Safety Matters, we speak to Chris Elliott about:
The 2013 horsemeat scandal and how he unexpectedly became involved in the investigation
How a complex food supply chain made it easy for cheating and fraud to occur
His recommendation to set up a special police force to begin tracking food-related crimes, which eventually became the UK's National Food Crime Unit
The Food Industry Intelligence Network (FIIN)
The cutting-edge technology that's known as "food fingerprinting" to detect tampering or adulteration
The problem with constant auditing for compliance
The three ground challenges at Queens University
Genetically modified (GM) foods, and the importance of pesticides, insecticides, and fungicides
Concerns about the cocktail effect of eating every day GM foods
Advancements and achievements in the U.S. and Europe vs. in other parts of the world
Brexit and how it may affect current food safety work