Creating A Food Safety Culture Executive Education 2018 Recap

Creating A Food Safety Culture Executive Education 2018 Recap

By: Esther Haviland

The fifth offering of Creating a Food Safety Culture Executive Education on the MSU campus has officially wrapped. A record number of 44 participants attended! Companies represented were Coca-Cola, Taco Bell, Ecolab, and the FDA, just to name a few. We had guests travel to campus from South Africa, Chile, New Zealand, and China.

The week kicked-off with the annual Robert Leader Endowed Lecture Series featuring guest speaker Patricia M. Griffin, M.D., Chief of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Enteric Diseases Epidemiology Branch. Dr. Griffin shared how multi-disciplinary investigations of past foodborne outbreaks have identified many of the root causes of contamination so prevention efforts can be effectively targeted.

Following the Leader Lecture, the Online Food Safety Program teamed up with the Food@MSU initiative, Our Table, to discuss Food Safety. Our Table is a series of roundtable discussions that focus on different food-related issues. The discussions are free to the public and are moderated by Sheril Kirshenbaum, this was the third installment of the Our Table discussion.

The panel included:

  • Patricia Griffin, M.D., Chief of the Enteric Diseases and Epidemiology Branch of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Julie Funk, DVM, MS, Ph.D., Associate Dean, MSU College of Veterinary Medicine and former Online Food Safety Program Director at MSU
  • Frank Yiannas, Vice President of Food Safety, Walmart
  • Sandra Walker, Food Program Manager, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development

Wednesday was the beginning of the Creating a Food Safety Culture Executive Education program lead by Frank Yiannas, VP of Food Safety at Walmart. This two-day workshop equipped participants with the knowledge to create a food safety culture within their own work environments. Not only did they receive invaluable information from Yiannas, but they also gained insight from their peers.

 “The lecture and exercises covered were fantastic. I loved the stores shared and learning from the brilliant minds that were present.  In addition, the networking opportunity to me was priceless,” said Kunna Faal, MS in Food Safety student, Golden Peanut and Tree Nuts, Georgia (USA).

Wednesday evening, the participants enjoyed a night at the Broad Art Museum with a self-guided tour and plated dinner. Thursday evening was the Spartan Hoop-la at the Breslin Center. Guests toured the Breslin, had dinner followed by MSU Dairy Store ice cream, and danced to a live band. MSFS alumni are also invited to this event to network with CFSC participants and the Online Food Safety staff.

We completed the week with a powerful talk from Bill Marler, accomplished attorney and national expert in food safety. Marler discussed the impact of food borne illness on families, sharing many impactful stories. Many participants expressed they would now like to use stories vs statistics to resonate with their teams.  

After Marler's presentation, there was a discussion panel on Food Safety Leadership featuring Marler, Yiannas, Joann Givens of FDA Office of Human and Animal Food Operations - West, Robert Prevendar of NSF and Adam London of Kent Co. Health Department and current NEHA president.

The panelists represented very different segments of the food safety community (foodborne illness attorney, food industry, federal government, 3rd party auditing, local government). Panelists shared who had influenced them to become a food safety leader and their thoughts on current leadership needs in the area of food safety.

“From the very first email (from the MSU Food Safety team) it was clear this was going to be a very professional event. And they didn’t disappoint – from the venue to the food to the presenter to the evening activities – everything was great. I came away inspired by a very worthwhile course armed with very practical tools for improving food safety culture and I can’t wait to use them,” said Linda Jackson, Co-Founder, Food Focus, South Africa.

For more information on Creating a Food Safety Culture please contact Esther Haviland, or 517-884-2078.