Food Safety Magazine

Podcast | April 11, 2019

Ep. 46. GFSI: Yiannas, Jespersen, and Robach Weigh In on the Conference

By Staff

Ep. 46. GFSI: Yiannas, Jespersen, and Robach Weigh In on the Conference

Lone Jespersen is principal of Cultivate, an organization dedicated to helping food manufacturers globally make safe, great tasting food through cultural effectiveness. Lone has significant experience with food manufacturing, having previously spent 11 years with Maple Leaf Foods. Following the tragic event in 2008 when Maple Leaf products claimed 23 Canadian lives, Lone lead the execution of the Maple Leaf Foods, food safety strategy, and its operations learning strategy. 

Prior to that, Lone worked for Woodbridge Foam as the engineering and operations manager responsible for the safety and quality of automobile safety products. Lone holds a Master's degree in mechanical engineering from Syd Dansk University, Denmark, and a Master's of food science and a Ph.D. from the University of Guelph, Canada.

Mike Robach is chairman of the GFSI board. Up until August 2018, he served as the vice president, corporate food safety, quality, & regulatory for Cargill based in Minneapolis, MN. Prior to joining Cargill, he headed up technical services for Conti Group’s meat and poultry businesses, and began his career with Monsanto.

Mike is the past president of Safe Supply of Affordable Food Everywhere, a member of the Scientific and Regulatory Affairs Council Executive Committee for the Grocery Manufacturers Association, and a member of the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association’s Research Advisory Committee.

Mike has worked with the World Organization of Animal Health and the Food and Agriculture Organization on harmonized animal health and food safety standards. He has worked closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regarding food safety policy, Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points, and regulatory reforms based on science. From 1995 through 2000, Mike was a member of the National Advisory Committee for Microbiological Criteria in Foods.

Mike is a graduate of Michigan State University and Virginia Tech.

Frank Yiannas is the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response, a position he assumed in December 2018. He is the principal advisor to FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb in the development and execution of policies related to food safety, including implementation of the landmark FDA Food Safety Modernization Act. His leadership role within the agency covers a broad spectrum of food safety priorities, such as outbreak response, traceback investigations, product recall activities, and supply chain innovation across the full spectrum of FDA-regulated products.

Prior to joining FDA, Frank was the vice president of food safety at Walmart—the world's largest food retailer. In that role, Frank oversaw all food safety—as well as other public health functions—for Walmart, serving over 200 million customers around the world on a weekly basis. His scope of responsibilities included food safety oversight of Walmart’s stores, Neighborhood Markets, and Sam’s Clubs. He was also charged with training and education of associates, food safety oversight of thousands of food suppliers, and a number of critical regulatory compliance issues.

Prior to joining Walmart in 2008, Frank was the director of safety and health for The Walt Disney Company, where he worked for 19 years. In 2001, under his tenure, Walt Disney World received the prestigious Black Pearl Award for corporate excellence in food safety by the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP).

Frank is a registered microbiologist with the American Academy of Microbiology and holds memberships with several professional associations. Frank received his B.Sc. in Microbiology from the University of Central Florida and his Master's of Public Health from the University of South Florida.

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In this episode of Food Safety Matters, we speak to Frank [15:07], and Lone and Mike [25:08] about:

  • Highlights, key moments, and takeaways from this year's GFSI conference in Nice, France
  • The value of networking, collaborating, sharing challenges, and learning best practices at GFSI
  • Projects that GFSI is working on with various government entities, the private sector, academia, and consumers
  • The Global Markets Program
  • GFSI's continuous improvement in the areas of benchmarking requirements, technology, certification programs, and capacity building
  • The emerging trend of e-commerce as a food safety topic to watch
  • Produce safety as a global issue, not just a North American issue
  • GFSI's partnerships with STOP Foodborne Illness and Pew Charitable Trusts
  • GFSI's unique position as the industry's premier place to bring together food industry professionals from all cultures and backgrounds
  • Improvements that can be made around how food safety performance is measured
  • Working in the retail/private vs. regulatory sectors
  • Government's continuously improving response to foodborne illness outbreaks
  • FDA's future use of blockchain technology and spreading the idea of food safety culture

Related Content 
A Culture of Food Safety: A Position Paper from GFSI

News Mentioned in This Episode
Leafy Greens Industry Working on New Water Guidelines; LGMA announcement  [4:12]
Emails Show FDA Worry After Romaine Outbreaks  [0:00]
USDA to Audit Brazil's Meat Inspections After 2017 Import Ban; Brazil's announcement  [8:02]
FDA Requests Funds for More High-Tech, Digital Food Safety System; FDA statement [12:47]

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