Food Safety Magazine

February 25, 2020

Ep. 66. Frank Yiannas: A New Era of Smarter Food Safety

Ep. 66. Frank Yiannas: A New Era of Smarter Food Safety

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. In this role, he is charged with 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.

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 [11:26] about:

  • The impetus behind the FDA's New Era of Smarter Food Safety
  • Current shifts in the food industry and how FDA must keep up with everchanging trends
  • What to expect in the upcoming Strategic Blueprint that will outline the New Era of Smarter Food safety
  • Similar food safety modernization improvements being implemented globally
  • How advancements in tracking and tracing made a difference in the 2019 romaine lettuce outbreaks (vs. 2018)
  • Food delivery, time and temperature control, tamper resistance, and cross-contamination
  • The future of tracking and tracing
  • Building and strengthening your company's food safety culture BEFORE a crisis occurs
  • The road ahead for FDA's Food Policy & Response office

News Mentioned in This Episode
Proposed Bill Would Allow FDA Access to CAFOs to Investigate Foodborne Outbreaks [3:33]
Three Year Multi-Country Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Eggs Isn't Over Yet [8:43]


  1. FoodTech 2020: A Look Ahead at the Trends Impacting the Food Chain This Decade
  2. Visualize Your Entire Supply Chain Through Critical Tracking Events
  3. Getting Started in the Current Age of Traceability
  4. FoodLogiQ’s Public Comments on a New Era of Smarter Food Safety
  5. Food Safety Matters: Partnering on Food Traceability and Transparency Podcast

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