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.
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
Don Schaffner is distinguished professor and Extension Specialist in food science at Rutgers University. He has published over 150 peer-reviewed papers on a variety of topics including handwashing, cross-contamination, quantitative microbial risk assessment, and predictive food microbiology. Dr. Schaffner is active in several scientific associations, including the International Association for Food Protection where he is a past-president.
Ben Chapman is associate professor and food safety Extension Specialist at North Carolina State University. There, with the goal of less foodborne illness, his group designs, implements, and evaluates food safety strategies, messages, and media from farm-to-fork. Ben is also a contributor to the very popular Barfblog.
Jorge Hernandez is the chief food safety and compliance officer for Wholesome International, a restaurant company with different concepts and brands in the quick and fast casual foodservice markets in the U.S. He is responsible for food safety, quality, regulatory compliance, and sustainability for the organization. This includes developing structure and reporting lines for the staff, risk-based policies and procedures that meet or exceed FDA, USDA, and/or state regulations, as well as the department leadership and oversight over the company’s suppliers, restaurants, processing facilities, and distribution.
Previously, Hernandez worked for 12 years as the senior vice president for food safety and quality assurance at US Foods where he developed the food safety, quality, and food regulatory program for a corporation that included more than 80 distribution centers, 14 processing facilities, and over 550 private label co-packers with 1,600 facilities across all segments of the food industry.
Earlier, Jorge was the vice president of food safety and risk management at the National Restaurant Association where he led the development of the award-winning ServSafe food safety training program for the restaurant industry.
Jorge started his career as a regulator and held positions at the state and the Winnebago County health departments in Illinois, U.S. He has earned degrees in biology from Rockford University, microbiology from the Centro de Estudios Medico-Biologicos in Mexico City Mexico, and languages and literature from la Universite de la Sorbonne, Paris, France.
Jorge is the board member of several industry organizations, including STOP Foodborne, the International Food Protection Institute, and GFSI, where he co-leads the development of the International Standards for the Food Warehouse and Distribution and is currently the co-chair of the GFSI U.S./Canada Group.
Hernandez has published many articles and is a recognized consultant in the areas of food safety, food safety management systems, food safety accreditation, food safety training, and food safety operations.
In this episode of Food Safety Matters, we speak to Jorge about:
The art of balancing food safety science with common sense and making decisions based on both
Food safety culture and how it allows employees to speak up when food safety is at risk
Challenges of temperature control, contamination, and traceability while distributing food
The importance of working with supply chain partners who are knowledgeable about food safety and take it seriously
Why having the most sophisticated, up-to-date technology is not always enough to ensure the safety of food
Challenges faced by large food transporters that are not always problematic for smaller, local, or regional operators
The importance of using technology properly to ensure the best data and integrity possible
Best practices for transporting mixed loads
Why documentation and record-keeping are so important for times when technology may fail
His thoughts on why food distribution is not a huge target for intentional contamination
How the introduction of FSMA has helped make it safer to transport both raw product and ready-to-eat product on the same truck without cross-contamination issues
Common transportation issues and the use of trucks that are not fit to safely transport food
Working with GFSI to create international standards for transportation and warehousing
How GFSI standards compare to the FSMA Sanitary Transportation rule
Positive trends he sees with technology, big data, analytics, epidemiology, DNA, traceability, blockchain, and more.
In this BONUS episode of Food Safety Matters, we focus on next-generation sequencing and the advantages of using 16S Metagenomics to identify spoilage organisms in your facility thereby reducing the possibility of spoiled products reaching your consumers.
You will learn about a 16S Metagenomics service and how to join the 16S Challenge that gives you a chance to take advantage of the Advanced Microbial Mapping Program and get your facility biomapped at no charge.
To help us explore this new technology and service, our editorial director Barbara Van Renterghem will be speaking with Joe Heinzelmann, who specializes in food safety genomics at Neogen. Joe began his career as a nanotechnology chemist after graduating from Albion College with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, and with an MBA from Northwood University. Joe tells us more about the practical applications of metagenomics in eliminating spoilage organisms in a food processing facility.
In this episode, we speak to Neogen's Joe Heinzelmann about:
What is 16S Metagenomics and how it's different from Whole Genome Sequencing
What type of facilities benefit most from biomapping
How 16S Metagenomics is different from other technologies currently being used in the market
Partnering with the Alliance for Advanced Sanitation on research to understand how bacteria communities are affected by sanitation
What is the 16S Metagenomics Challenge?
Opportunites presented by using 16S Metagenomics for biomapping