Food Safety Magazine

News | June 21, 2017

Food Safety Pioneer Dave Theno Dies at 66

By Staff

Food Safety Pioneer Dave Theno Dies at 66

Yesterday, Food Safety Magazine learned that our friend, Dave Theno, tragically passed away on Monday at the age of 66. Our editorial director, Barbara VanRenterghem, was contacted by a member of our editorial board about Dave’s death, but we were unable to confirm the news until it was officially reported on via other media outlets today, primarily Food Safety News.

On Monday in Hawaii, Theno was reportedly snorkeling with his grandson near the Four Seasons Resort Lanai. While in the water, witnesses say Theno was overcome by a large wave and did not immediately resurface. Later, his body was spotted floating face down in the water. Attempts by both bystanders and paramedics to resuscitate him were unsuccessful.

At the time of his death, Dave served as the CEO of Gray Dog Partners, Inc., a Del Mar, California-based technical consulting business specializing in food safety, food manufacturing, restaurant operations, supply chain management and strategic planning. He was most widely known for the role he assumed with Jack in the Box (JIB) after the fast food chain experienced a tragic and massive foodborne illness outbreak in 1993. He joined the team as JIB's senior vice president and chief food safety officer, developing a comprehensive Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points plan for the chain, as well as a finished product testing protocol that initially irked his former meat industry colleagues. He tenure with JIB lasted 15 years.

Just last month, Food Safety Magazine launched our very own podcast--Food Safety Matters--and we were honored to have Dave as our inaugural guest. Just before then, he was recognized with an NSF Food Safety Leadership Lifetime Achievement Award at the Food Safety Summit in Rosemont, IL. We also honored Dave with a Food Safety Magazine Distinguished Service Award, presented at the International Association for Food Protection Annual Meeting in 2007. These are just two of Dave’s many well-deserved accolades over the years. His impact in the world of food safety will never be forgotten.