Food Safety Magazine

Podcast | March 26, 2019

Ep. 45. David Acheson: The Challenges of Communicating Food Safety to Consumers

By Staff

Ep. 45. David Acheson: The Challenges of Communicating Food Safety to Consumers

Dr. David Acheson, is the founder and CEO of The Acheson Group and brings more than 30 years of medical and food safety research and experience to provide strategic advice as well as recall and crisis management support to food companies and ancillary technology companies on a global basis on all matters relating to food safety and food defense.
 
David graduated from the University of London Medical School and practiced internal medicine and infectious diseases in the United Kingdom until 1987 when he moved to the New England Medical Center and became an Associate Professor at Tufts University in Boston, studying the molecular pathogenesis of foodborne pathogens.
 
Prior to forming The Acheson Group, David served as the Chief Medical Officer at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service and then joined the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as the Chief Medical Officer at the FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN). After serving as the director of CFSAN’s Office of Food Defense, Communication, and Emergency Response, David was appointed as the Assistant and then Associate Commissioner for Foods, which provided him an agency-wide leadership role for all food and feed issues and the responsibility for the development of the 2007 Food Protection Plan, which served as the basis for many of the authorities granted to FDA by the Food Safety Modernization Act.
 
From 2009 to 2013, he was a partner at Leavitt Partners where he managed Leavitt Partners Global Food Safety Solutions. 

David has published extensively and is internationally recognized both for his public health expertise in food safety and his research in infectious diseases. He is a sought-after speaker and regular guest on national news programs. He serves on a variety of boards and food safety advisory groups of several major food manufacturers.

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In this episode of Food Safety Matters, we speak to David [32:48] about:

  • The food industry's hesitation about speaking openly about food safety and the science behind it
  • Consumers' lack of trust and understanding when it comes to food science
  • How the media plays a role in shaping consumer attitudes about food safety
  • Scientists and their traditional lack of ability to effectively communicate with consumers 
  • The state of food safety today vs. years/decades ago
  • Why it makes sense that today's food supply is safe despite an increasing number of recalls and outbreaks
  • Balancing science, public health, consumer demand, and marketing messages
  • The top misperceptions that consumers have about food

We also speak with Hilary Thesmar (Food Marketing Institute) and Shelley Feist (The Partnership for Food Safety Education) [12:03] about:

  • The recent 2019 Consumer Food Safety Education Conference
  • How food processors and manufacturers benefit from the conference 
  • How consumer food safety messaging is continuously improving
  • Consumer behavior that goes against standard food safety practices
  • Support from BAC Fighters

Articles by David Acheson in Food Safety Magazine
Why Don't We Learn More from Our Mistakes?
Industry Perspectives of Proposed FSMA Rule on Preventive Controls

News Mentioned in This Episode
USDA FSIS Issues Meat Industry Best Practices for Responding to Customer Complaints [2:34] 
Bumble Bee Tuna Using Blockchain Technology to Trace Fish Origin for Consumers [4:55] 
Strawberries, Spinach, and Kale Top 2019 Dirty Dozen List [8:14]

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