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.
Jeff Hahn, Principal at Hahn Marketing & Communications, is a crisis communications expert with 30 years of experience in communications and public relations. He is a specialist in the food and energy sectors and is the owner of a family of integrated agency brands including Apron Food & Beverage Communications, Hahn Public Communications, the Predictive Media Network, and White Lion Interactive. He also served in the U.S. Air Force, where he completed his associate degree in administration, and then graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science from The University of Texas at San Antonio. He is formally trained in persuasion communication and holds a master’s degree in communication studies from Texas State University.
Shawn Stevens is the founding member of Food Industry Counsel, the only law firm in the world that represents the food industry exclusively.
As a food industry consultant and lawyer, Mr. Stevens works throughout the U.S. and abroad with food industry clients—including the world’s largest growers, processors, restaurant chains, distributors, and grocers—helping them protect their brands by reducing food safety risks, complying with FDA and USDA food safety regulations, managing recalls and defending high-profile foodborne illness claims.
Erik Mettler is Assistant Commissioner for Partnerships and Policy within the Office of Regulatory Affairs (ORA) in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In this role, he serves as advisor to the Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs on the full range of ORA's activities including partnerships, implementation of new laws and regulations, and overall strategic planning and prioritization. He is responsible for providing long-range strategic direction for ORA policies and programs including the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act.
Michael Rogers is Assistant Commissioner for Human and Animal Food (HAF) operations at FDA's ORA, focusing on inspection- and compliance-related issues in the human and animal food programs and overseeing the program directors for east and west HAF operations, as well as state cooperative programs. Mr. Rogers joined FDA in 1991 as a Field Investigator in the Baltimore District. He then became a Supervisory Investigator at the Northern Virginia Resident Post, a Branch Director at FDA headquarters, the Director of the Division of Field Investigations, and later the Director of FDA's Latin American Office.
Travis Waller is the Director of Regulatory Services for the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food, where he has served since 2014. He oversees five regulatory program areas including retail and manufactured foods; weights and measures; dairy inspection; egg; and poultry grading and inspection, bedding, quilted clothing, and upholstered furniture. Mr. Waller has worked in retail food safety for the past 21 years in both industry and government.
Adam J. Kuszak, Ph.D., is a health scientist administrator in the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) and the director of the ODS Analytical Methods and Reference Materials (AMRM) Program. Through AMRM, he works with stakeholders involved in research, industry, and regulatory affairs to support scientific resource development and promote biomedical research on the mechanisms and health effects of dietary supplements and natural products. In addition, he provides scientific expertise and analyses to facilitate ODS initiative development, program management, strategic planning, and evaluation. Dr. Kuszak’s primary research interests are elucidating the mechanisms of action and effects on cellular signaling networks of natural products and drugs and their chemical and biological characterization. He received his B.S. in pharmacology and toxicology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and his Ph.D. in pharmacology from the University of Michigan. He completed his postdoctoral training at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and joined the ODS as an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science & Technology Policy Fellow in 2014.
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.
With 2021 in the rear-view mirror, the Food Safety Matters team, along with Bob Ferguson of Strategic Consulting, sat down to discuss the big food safety stories and impacts of 2021, and peek ahead at what’s in store as we begin 2022.
Mark Wittrock is the Director of the Food, Agriculture, and Veterinary Defense Division within the Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
In this role, he oversees the coordination and integration of the Department’s food, agriculture, and veterinary defense efforts across DHS, the federal interagency, state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, academia, and the international community. His DHS focus is largely on mitigating the potential impacts from high-consequence and/or catastrophic events on the food and agriculture sectors and building stronger resilience to both the unintentional and intentional introduction of poisons, pests, or pathogens that could have quickly cascading impacts across the sectors.