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.
William Weichelt is in the newly created position of director, Food Safety & Industry Relations, for the National Restaurant Association (NRA) and has over 20 years of experience in the foodservice and food manufacturing sectors.
The NRA is the largest foodservice trade association in the world by membership—supporting over 500,000 restaurant businesses. They represent and advocate for foodservice industry interests—with a focus on financial and regulatory obstacles. They also provide tools and systems that help members of all sizes get significantly better operating results as well as networking, education and research resources.
Specific to food safety their ServSafe Program provides comprehensive educational materials to the restaurant industry through face-to-face and online instruction. More than 5 million foodservice professionals have been certified through the ServSafe Food Protection Manager Certification Examination.
In this episode of Food Safety Matters, we speak to William Weichelt about:
Challenges the NRA faces with the start of their new Food Safety Industry Relations department
NRA’s current top priorities to help the industry going forward
Using food safety best practices that have been applied in manufacturing to create new best practices in foodservice and hospitality
Working with an industry that runs the gamut—from large operators with their own systems in place to independent operators who have no food science staff or expertise
The challenge of figuring out what topics to educate the industry on in the short-term, based on need, from edible marijuana to implementing a food safety management system
NRA's training and resources offered to smaller operators who do not have food safety staff
Challenges related to keeping ServSafe relevant and always in line with the FDA Food Code
Milestones that NRA has achieved as the organization's 100th-anniversary approaches
The importance of having everyone in an organization from the top down involved in the implementation and maintenance of a food safety management system
The new Food Safety Industry Relations department's future plans to help the industry in new areas: food fraud, food defense, traceability and figuring out how to apply these topics to the restaurant level, not just to manufacturers
How changing trends, consumer demand and product innovations impact how the food industry operates and how it all affects the industry’s approach to food safety
Barbara interviews Deirdre Schlunegger, the CEO of Stop Foodborne Illness. Stop Foodborne Illness is a national nonprofit public health organization dedicated to the prevention of illness and death from foodborne pathogens. Their mission is to promote sound food safety policy and best practices, build public awareness and assist those impacted by foodborne illness.
Stop Foodborne Illness was founded in 1993 in the wake of the Jack-in-the-Box E. coli outbreak by a group of foodborne illness victims and friends in order to address the void they saw in the national food policy arena.
Since then, Stop Foodborne Illness has become a respected leader in consumer advocacy and is regularly consulted by government officials, industry leaders, academia, public health organizations, members of Congress, and the media on issues concerning food safety.
Deirdre joined Stop Foodborne Illness in August 2010 bringing over 25 years of nonprofit and leadership experience. She serves as an advisory member of the Joint Institute of Food Safety and Nutrition and is a participating member of the Safe Food Coalition and the Make Our Food Safe Coalition and serves as Commissioner of the International Food Science Certification Commission.
If you would like to become involved with Stop Foodborne Illness's advocacy work, you can call them directly at 773-269-6555 or visit StopFoodborneIllness.org.
In this episode of Food Safety Matters, we speak to Deirdre Schlunegger about:
The founding of Stop Foodborne Illness
How the organization has helped to motivate regulatory reform, particularly via the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Food Safety Modernization Act
Stop Foodborne Illness's consumer outreach efforts, especially for food outbreaks and recalls
Consumer materials made available via Stop Foodborne Illness on topics such as handwashing, grocery shopping, food handling and preparation
Positive cultural shifts that have taken place within the organization to a more cooperative approach with industry
The impact of telling stories to workers in the food industry vs. relying on training/technical videos
The Stop Foodborne Illness honor wall, a collection of stories from families who have been personally impacted by foodborne illness
The Dave Theno Food Safety Fellowship
Future projects and collaborations with food companies, government groups, and consumer communities
Dr. Lee-Ann Jaykus is a William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor in the Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences at North Carolina State University, having been employed with the university for over 22 years.
Dr. Jaykus received a Ph.D. (1993) in environmental sciences and engineering from the School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. She previously earned B.Sc. (1979) and M.Sc. (1982) degrees in food science from Purdue University, as well as serving in industrial positions for seven years. Her research efforts are varied but she is best known for her work in food virology. She is currently serving as the scientific director of the USDA-NIFA Food Virology Collaborative. Also called NoroCORE, the Collaborative is a seven-year, $25 million project intended to reduce the burden of disease associated with enteric viruses, particularly noroviruses. Prevention and control of norovirus contamination and subsequent transmission is one of her particular passions.
Dr. Jaykus’ professional activities have included membership on the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods, on several Institute of Medicine-National Research Council consensus committees, and on the executive board of the International Association for Food Protection, for which she served as president in 2010-2011. Dr. Jaykus has also worked closely with the FDA Office of Foods in facilitating the implementation of risk-based food safety management systems. She has taught food microbiology/safety on the undergraduate and graduate levels, has mentored over 50 graduate students and post-doctoral research associates and authored or co-authored over 150 scientific publications.
In this episode of Food Safety Matters, we speak to Lee-Ann Jaykus about:
How NoroCORE got started, including the major players and institutions that have contributed to the initiative's success and outreach efforts
Why NoroCORE focuses so much on engaging stakeholders from the foodservice industry
The history of norovirus first identified in the 1960s
Work done by Baylor College of Medicine to produce replication of norovirus for the first time
Human challenge studies, popular among cash-strapped college students but necessary for continued and timely norovirus research
The most surprising findings she's come across in her years researching norovirus
Clarifying the source of norovirus
What foodservice can do to prevent norovirus outbreaks from occurring
Social media's effect on educating the public about norovirus
This special BONUS episode of Food Safety Matters focuses on Allergens. Concerns about food allergens have been around now for quite some time, and the food industry has done a respectable job of proactively guarding against unintended food allergens in their products. However, with the introduction of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), continued globalization of the food supply and increased regulatory activities, food manufacturers will need to keep diligent in their food allergen control plans.
To explore how the food industry can improve their odds of avoiding allergen risks, Food Safety Magazine’s Editorial Director, Barbara VanRenterghem, speaks with Tim Hendra from Neogen. Tim has been with Neogen for 21 years, specializing in diagnostic applications such as rapid testing and allergens. He has been a very active member of technical committees at various food industry associations, such as the Food Allergen Research and Resource Program (FARRP) and International Association for Food Protection (IAFP), and has co-authored several food allergen handbooks.
In this episode, we speak to Neogen’s Tim Headra about:
Why allergens continue to be such an important issue for food manufacturers.
Food allergen trends and recalls
Risks to consumers and the business in the food industry
How manufacturers and retailers can work together when allergen recalls occur
Importance of transparency (for manufacturers)
Reasons for allergen recalls other than mislabeling
What the “Big 8” allergens mean on a global scale, and what allergens in other countries mean for the U.S.
Efforts to harmonize allergen lists and threshold levels between countries
Detecting allergens vs. proteins, and the relationship between the two
FSMA and food allergen control programs, types of allergen testing kits and methods
Limitations with PCR tests and LC-MS methods vs. ELISA tests
What food manufacturers can do when they are faced with allergen issues
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. Prior to joining IEH, Will was president and CEO of Fresh Integrity Group, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in operations and food safety consulting for the fresh produce and perishables industries. He was recently involved in the cold-pressed juice industry, working with two startups to develop their operations. Prior to his involvement with start-up companies, Will was with Earthbound Farm from 1999 until 2014. Having leadership roles in both quality assurance and operations, he helped the company grow from a small, regional salad producer to the nation’s largest grower, packer, and shipper of organic produce. As Earthbound Farm’s Chief Food Integrity Officer, Daniels was responsible for food safety, food quality, and the company’s organic integrity program. Before joining Earthbound Farm, Will worked for 15 years as a consultant in the foodservice sector; working in the back of the house designing menus, introducing food safety and, improving costs; he even had his own catering business.
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 the keynote speaker at the 2013 Food Safety Summit in Washington, DC, was one of the Packer 25 annual list of produce leaders for 2013 and was named one of the food industry’s top food safety leaders by Marler/Clark’s Food Safety News in 2013. He has also been featured in a variety of national news stories on food safety with media such as The New York Times and ABC News’s Good Morning America; he is the author of two book chapters, “Effectively Managing through a Crisis,” in Microbial Safety of Fresh Produce, published by Wiley in 2009 and “Pathogen Testing in Fresh Produce: Earthbound Farm,” in Global Safety of Fresh Produce; A Handbook of Best Practice, Innovative Commercial Collations and Case Studies, published by Woodhead Publishing in 2014. 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 Will Daniels about:
How Earthbound Farm responded to a deadly E. coli 0157:H7 outbreak linked to fresh spinach
The complexities and challenges of the supply chain
Balancing food safety needs with marketing objectives
The importance of education along every point of the supply chain
Low product pricing and its effect on food safety
Misconceptions about FSMA regulations
Getting the C-suite to understand the value of investing in food safety
Hal is a public health professional who has worked in the investigation of foodborne and other disease outbreaks with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). He has also performed funded research on causation of diseases at Emory University.
Hal has worked in the prevention of intentional adulteration of foods for U.S. Army Reserves Consequence Management Unit, then on the design and implementation of preventative controls for food safety hazards in the food industry while serving as director of food and product safety at Chick-fil-A.
Hal is past chairman of the National Restaurant Association Quality Assurance Executive Study Group, past board member of the National Council of Chain Restaurants and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and CDC Industry Partnerships, and past President of the Georgia Association for Food Protection an affiliate of the International Association of Food Protection.
Hal’s company, Public Health Innovations developed The Food Safety Lab, a website that facilitates open access to best practices in food safety for the food industry.
He is now writing a new book to help the industry ensure food safety in restaurant operations called Active Managerial Control: Implementing Food Safety Management Systems in a Retail Food Service Business.
In this episode of Food Safety Matters, we speak to Hal King about:
How to design a food safety management system that can enable control of risk factors that contribute to foodborne illness
His time at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and how it helped him to understand food safety management
How and where food safety hazards occur in the restaurant environment
Turnover in the foodservice industry, and how it can be a setback in terms of food safety
How health inspections work and the important role they play in food safety
HACCP in a restaurant environment vs. in a food manufacturing facility
Food hazards that get the most--and least--attention at the restaurant level
Why some restaurant chains are reluctant to implement daily monitoring and other food safety systems
The top food safety challenge facing restaurants today
How spending $10,000 on food safety could potentially save millions in preventing a recall, outbreak, etc.
How consumers' perceptions of food safety have shifted, according to multiple studies
Industry vs. consumers: Who bears responsibility when it comes to handling and preparing foods at home?
Educational and career advice for young professionals interested in a food safety career