Deirdre Schlunegger, CEO of STOP Foodborne Illness
Food Safety Culture Club

Spreading the Message

By Deirdre Schlunegger
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Deirdre Schlunegger, CEO of STOP Foodborne Illness

Does your company have the knowledge and commitment to instill food safety culture?

STOP Foodborne Illness receives many requests to speak at conferences, trainings and meetings.  I recently spoke at the Harris County Food Safety Summit  in Houston, along with David, one of our Texas volunteers. David became ill from Salmonella after eating at a hospital. The event’s audience consisted of health inspectors, and restaurant owners and managers. It was a great crowd.

At this year’s Food Safety Consortium, STOP Foodborne Illness is holding a fundraiser and honoring heroes in food safety. LEARN MOREAt the United Fresh meeting, I participated on a panel with Rylee, a STOP Nevada volunteer, who spoke about her experiences as a victim of a foodborne illness.  Also include on the panel were folks from The California Leafy Green Marketing Agreement to talk about our collaborative training video project. STOP Board Member Jorge Hernandez, also the Chief Food Safety Officer for Wholesome International, moderated the discussion. The video was played (available on STOP’s website). I was asked what I thought about competitive marketing advantage as it relates to food safety. To be honest, I don’t really think about that: STOP Foodborne Illness has an obligation to do what we can to prevent illness and death that stems from foodborne illness. We know that sharing personal stories makes a difference in training.

Now that I’m back in the office, our team has three requests, one for speaking and two requests from media to talk about food safety. We hear a lot about food safety culture these days, but actually taking the steps to facilitate, implement and monitor that change can be more of a challenge. We are reading about so many new technologies and practices related to food safety, which is great, but they must be accompanied by a company’s knowledge and commitment in order to be successful.

We will continue to contribute to the conversation. We are most interested in prevention and in solutions and like you, want to make a difference. We want to have fewer and fewer conversations with devastated family members about their experience with foodborne illness.  Thanks again for all you do to create a strong food safety culture. How is your organization instilling a strong culture? Let us know how we can help.

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