Food safety culture receives rock star treatment as food safety summit concludes


ROSEMONT, Illinois — Attorneys panel says food culture is not only important in many ways, but could keep bosses out of jail, says 25th Annual Food Safety Summit near Chicago It ended on a strong note.

“Food safety culture” is a term that food safety professionals have come to use to describe food companies that live their values ​​in a way that does not harm consumers. A food safety culture usually only exists when supported by the highest levels within the company.

Matthew Rush, deputy director of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Consumer Protection Bureau, said one of the first checks during an investigation is whether a company has a food safety culture. Rush was part of the team that recently completed the prosecution of Bluebell Creameries over the 2005 Listeria outbreak that killed four people.

Others, including National Food Industry attorney Sean Stevens, agreed. Sharon Lindan May, partner of DLA Piper. and Hogan Lovells partner Maile Gladison. Bill Mahler, managing partner of the Seattle-based food safety law firm, said in his 30 years of representing food poisoning victims, company owners and operators failed to take early precautions. He said he never had a case. .

Mahler said it is always possible to prevent “a truck from falling off a cliff” if the company is careful and has the right values.

Earlier on Thursday, the Food Safety Summit hosted a ‘town hall’ meeting attended by four top government officials in the food safety field. Here are some highlights from that session.

The USDA’s Undersecretary for Food Safety, Sandra Eskin, has a lot to say about salmonella and the so-called “Not Ready-to-Eat” breaded chicken products. The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service is in the process of rulemaking making salmonella a contaminant in these products. This is the first time Salmonella is named as a contaminant.

CDC’s Rob Tauxe said that since the CDC’s lab in Atlanta adopted whole gelome sequencing (WGS), it has been able to spread it to state and local labs. The result, says Tookes, is more data and faster. He said the trend will accelerate further in the near future.

Donald A. Prater took over as Acting Director for Food Policy and Response following the departure of Frank Yianas from the FDA. And Prater said the FDA now has several acting directors awaiting a restructuring of the FDA’s food sector responsibilities. Prater expects the executive board to be appointed after the FDA Commissioner completes the reorganization. He said he had a great time working at the FDA.

AFDO CEO Steve Mandernak does not work for the federal government, but he represents food and drug authorities in all 50 states. He said the Association of Food and Drug Officials is waiting for the FDA’s restructuring to be lifted so states can check to ensure that budget details are in place as Congress intended. Mandernach also said AFDO is working on retail food safety.

Hosted by BNP Media and Food Safety Magazine, the Food Safety Summit will be held at the Stevens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL, adjacent to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. Next up for the food safety community is Everyone’s Grandpa at the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) in Toronto this July.

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