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.
Michael Cramer started his food career with Swift and Company at a turkey processing facility in eastern Pennsylvania while attending West Chester University. He graduated in 1977 with a B.S. degree in Health Education. During his career with Swift and Company, he was Quality Assurance (QA) Manager at plants in Pennsylvania and North Carolina, a Production Specialist, and a Documentation Manager at the corporate headquarters.
In 1993, Michael started with Specialty Brands Inc. in Ontario, Canada, where he was Director of Food Safety and Quality. He spent 27 years with the company, and remained as Senior Director of Food Safety and Quality Assurance (FSQA) through the purchase by Ajinomoto Foods North America Inc. He developed and implemented programs to ensure production of safe, quality, ethnic frozen foods. Mike retired from Ajinomoto Foods in July 2021.
Mike has been a member of the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP), and was part of the FSQA team at Ajinomoto Foods that won the prestigious Black Pearl Award in 2020. In addition to authoring Food Plant Sanitation, he is also on the Editorial Advisory Board of Food Safety Magazine and has written articles for Food Safety Magazine dealing with Listeria control, biosecurity, sanitation, and sanitary design, and allergens. He was also a contributing member of the American Frozen Foods Institute (AFFI) Listeria Working Group. In addition, he has participated in multiple Food Safety Matters podcasts, conducted food sanitation webinars, and has been a presenter at numerous food safety and quality conferences. He remains active in retirement, giving back to the industry.
Dr. Alissa Welsher is Associate Senior Consultant at Elanco Poultry Food Safety. Dr. Welsher received her B.S. degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Pittsburgh, as well as an M.S. degree in Poultry Science and a Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology from the University of Arkansas. Her area of expertise is molecular physiology, and she specializes in heat stress and gut health.
Stephen Hughes is Prevention Coordinator within the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN), within the Office of Food Safety at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). After outbreaks and adverse incidents, he runs a systematic process to identify and implement public health interventions intended to help limit or prevent future outbreaks linked to certain FDA-regulated foods. Before coming to FDA, Stephen worked in a public health program in Virginia, in program areas that included food safety, indoor air quality, aquatic health, and general environmental health.
Dr. Jennifer McEntire is Chief Food Safety and Regulatory Officer at the International Fresh Produce Association. Prior to the merger of United Fresh and Produce Marketing Association, Jennifer was Vice President of Food Safety and Technology at United Fresh Produce Association.
A food microbiologist by background, she has always worked in the Washington D.C., area, bringing a scientific perspective to food safety regulatory issues. She was previously Vice President of Science Operations at the Grocery Manufacturers Association. She has served as Vice President and Chief Science Officer at The Acheson Group and as the Senior Staff Scientist and Director of Science and Technology Projects at the Institute of Food Technologists.
Jennifer earned a Ph.D. from Rutgers University as a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Needs Fellow in food safety. She serves as an advisory board member of the Global Food Traceability Center, the technical committee of the Center for Produce Safety, and she is on the executive committee of the Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance.
Kimberly (Kim) Livsey is a Senior Emergency Response Coordinator in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA's) Office of Regulatory Affairs' (ORA’s) Office of Human and Animal Food Operations. In addition to more than 20 years of federal service at FDA, she has leveraged her expertise in food safety oversight and emergency management at the state and local government levels. Prior to her time at FDA, she was an environmental health specialist with the DeKalb County Board of Health in Decatur, Georgia, where she served as a supervisor and trainer in the food protection program.
Kim has led incident response, management, and command activities on the frontlines of multiple natural disasters, including Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav, and Irma. She has also contributed to leadership and planning for food safety and defense at numerous special event operations, including the international G-8 summit, The World Games 2022, Democratic and Republican political conventions, and Presidential inaugurations.
In March 2022, Kim spent seven weeks leading the ORA Incident Management Team in response to adverse events associated with the use of powdered infant formula products. She and her 37-person team took action as part of FDA’s response, including facility inspection, product sample analysis, consumer complaint triage, state sample request coordination, media inquiry response, and enforcement action initiation.
Michael R. Taylor is a member of the board of Stop Foodborne Illness, a consumer organization supporting and representing the victims of foodborne illness and their families. From January 2010 to June 2016, he served as Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). He led FDA's implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and oversaw FDA's other food-related activities, including its nutrition, labeling, food additive, dietary supplement, and animal drug programs. Previously, Mike served at FDA as a staff attorney and Deputy Commissioner for Policy, and at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as FSIS Administrator and Acting Under Secretary for Food Safety. Prior to re-joining FDA in 2009, he spent nearly a decade in academia conducting food safety, food security, and public health policy research, most recently at George Washington University's School of Public Health. Mike is a graduate of Davidson College and the University of Virginia School of Law.
An accomplished attorney and national expert in food safety, William (Bill) Marler has become the most prominent foodborne illness lawyer in America with his firm, Marler Clark: The Food Safety Law Firm, and a major force in food policy in the U.S. and around the world. For the past 26 years, Bill has represented victims of nearly every large foodborne illness outbreak in the U.S. He began litigating foodborne illness cases in 1993, when he represented Brianne Kiner, the most seriously injured survivor of the historic Jack in the Box E. coli O157:H7 outbreak, in her landmark $15.6-million settlement with the company. The 2011 book, Poisoned, by best-selling author Jeff Benedict, chronicles the Jack in the Box outbreak and the rise of Bill Marler as a food safety attorney.
Bill'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 2010–2011 FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). 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.
Bill travels widely and frequently to speak to 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 them. He gives frequent donations to industry groups for the promotion of improved food safety, and has established numerous collegiate science scholarships across the U.S. He is also a frequent writer on topics related to foodborne illness and the Publisher of the online news site, Food Safety News, and his award-winning blog, www.marlerblog.com. He is frequent media guest on food safety issues and has been profiled in numerous publications.
In 2010, Bill was awarded the NSF Food Safety Leadership Award for Education, and in 2008 he earned the Outstanding Lawyer Award by the King County Bar Association. He has also received the Public Justice Award from the Washington State Trial Lawyers Association. Bill graduated from the Seattle University School of Law in 1987, and in 1998 was the Law School's "Lawyer in Residence." In 2011, he was given Seattle University's Professional Achievement Award. He is a member of the board of directors of Bainbridge Youth Services and a member of the Children's Hospital Circle of Care.
John Butts, Ph.D., is the Principal at Food Safety By Design LLC and the Advisor to the CEO at Land O' Frost Inc., where he was in the primary technical role for 47 years, having retired in 2021. As part of his succession plan, Dr. Butts founded Food Safety By Design LLC in 2010. Food Safety By Design helps producers of high-risk products learn how to prevent and manage food safety risks. Dr. Butts' specialty is the incorporation of food safety practices into company culture, including root cause identification using the "Seek and Destroy" scientific strategy for identifying and eliminating harborage sites for pathogens, which Dr. Butts developed earlier in his career.
In the early 1980s, Land O' Frost entered the shelf-stable meal business, which Dr. Butts facilitated with product development, process controls, quality assurance, and the invention of a proprietary sealing method. He also provided technical and management support to Frigorifico Canelones, the largest beef processing plant in Uruguay, from 1991–2001 when Land O' Frost owned and managed the business.
Dr. Butts is actively involved in pathogen reduction and control of pathogenic organisms in cooked processed meat products, seafood, leafy greens, and other ready-to-eat products. His current work includes the application of scientific principles and quality management technology to develop sanitation process control methods and procedures.
Dr. Butts is the recipient of many prominent awards throughout his professional career from NSF International, the American Meat Science Association, the North American Meat Institute, Purdue University, the Meat Industry Hall of Fame, and Food Safety Magazine's Distinguished Service Award. He has published dozens of technical articles and delivered numerous presentations, workshops, classes, and interviews over the years. He is an active member of the North American Meat Institute's Scientific Affairs Committee for over 40 years, and was a founding member of Special Poultry Research Committee to obtain approval of nitrite in poultry during the Carter Administration. He is also a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of Food Safety Magazine.