Ep. 085- The Food Safety Fanatics Part 1 with Don Schaffner, Distinguished Professor at Rutger’s University

Dr. Don Schaffner is an amazing food safety scientist who’s the best in class. In fact, let me name you a  few of his amazing awards: You can read his amazing biography here

What’s also super cool, is that Don and his co-host Ben do a whole lot of extracurricular activities to promote food safety and one of their favorite things to do is podcasting. For over 4 years, they’re been doing discussions of food safety and post them online for everyone to enjoy and they do have quite a following.

If you are in food safety or are considering food safety, you have to listen to this interview. Don gives you valuable advice on how to really be a star player in food safety and some amazing resources such as Barfblog, Food Safety News, and the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports

About Don

Dr. Donald W. Schaffner is Extension Specialist in Food Science and Distinguished Professor at Rutgers University. He has authored more than 150 peer-reviewed publications and educated thousands of Food Industry professionals through short courses and workshops in the United States and around the world.

He is a Fellow of the Institute of Food Technologists and the American Academy of Microbiology. He has served as an Editor for the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology since 2005.  Dr. Schaffner was the president of the International Association for Food Protection in 2013-2014. In his spare time he co-hosts a food safety podcast at foodsafetytalk.com.

Sponsor – FoodGrads

This episode is sponsored by FoodGrads, an interactive platform for the Food & Beverage Industry, which focuses on closing the gap between students and employers with a broader mission to attract and retain people to a meaningful career in food. From Food Scientists to Farmers, Chefs to Plant Managers, QA Technicians to Dieticians, or Marketing and Sales, no matter what your passion–there’s something for everyone in Food—and they will help you find it.

Join FoodGrads for support, mentorship and guidance to start your career. Just go to foodgrads.com

Sponsor – Steviva Ingredients

Has marketing ever asked you to pull a rabbit out of a hat? I know they have with me. They want clean-label sugar reduction because that’s the trend. And in addition to clean label, we need to follow the ever-changing FDA laws, meet low cost parameters AND create a product that tastes EXCELLENT – with no aftertaste issues.

They want us to make magic happen.

Who do they think we are – Houdini?

Let me tell you who the real magicians are. Steviva Ingredients. Steviva has more than two decades of experience in R&D and clean-label sugar reduction in a variety of applications: beverage, baked goods, fillings, frostings, condiments. Give em a call. They’ll create a solution for you. If they can help me, they can help you. Go check them out at stevivaingredients.com.


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I am also inviting you to sign up on our email list at myfoodjobrocks.com. I am doing this new thing called the 5 course meal where I send you 5 pieces of hand picked content and deliver it every Friday morning. Like a meal kit…

If you have any questions or suggestions on how to improve the podcast, don’t be afraid to email me at podcast@myfoodjobrocks.com

Knowledge Bombs

  • What is an extension specialist? What are extensions?
  • If you want a career in food science, think about Food Science and Quality because boy we have a lot to do
  • How Don met Darin Detwiler

Official Job title: Distinguished Professor – Distinguished Professor and Extension Specialist
How long have you worked in Rutgers?: Over 25 years!
Extension course: they’ve always existed, but not widely visible
What’s the best skill can you have in Food Safety and Quality: You need to keep learning. The knowledge you have today will be outdated by next year
Don’t think what you know today is going to necessarily be known tomorrow. You always have to keep up with new outbreaks and keep on changing your mind
What resources do you use to keep you up to date?: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports published by the CDC
Barfblog: Doug Powell and Ben Chapman. What’s making people barf!
Food Safety News by Bill Marler
Food Safety Talk with Ben Chapman. 2 PhDs in Food Safety talk about food safety. A director’s commentary of what’s in the food safety news
How did Food Safety Talks start?:
Howard Stern Terrestrial Radio
100th anniversary of IAFP. NPR people came over and Don met Ben and then they talked and then they made a podcast
Dan Benjamin: 5 by 5. How to do podcasting articles
How long has Food Safety Talks been on?: 5 years!
Why Does Your Food Job Rocks?: I love everything about my job. (Literally everything)
What advice can you give a 24 year old on having the achievements that you have?: Give it time, You don’t get ahead on focusing on regrets on the past. It’s just not relevant
Don’t focus on the past, focus on the present. Don’t let setbacks set you back.
Food Technology: Whole Genome Technology. The radar the CDC is using is getting more sensitive. Also, mimicking norovirus
What do you think the biggest challenge the food industry has to face?: Integration of FSMA
What’s one thing in the food industry you’d like to know more about?: Why people aren’t complying to rules
Favorite Quote: Prediction is very difficult especially about the future.
Favorite Book: DiscWorld by Terry Prachett
Favorite Kitchen Item: Digital Scale
What kind of advice would you give a fresh graduate?: Do the right thing. Life is too short that don’t take food safety and quality seriously.
Where can we find you?: Food Safety Talk podcast. Don Schaffner from Rutgers. Bug Counter on twitter. Emails (don’t do emails)

Other Links

Penn State Ice Cream Course
Texas A and M Extrusion Course
Better Process Control Course
Preventative Controls Rule: a training is required
Produce Safety Rule
Supplier Verification Programs
Irrigation of Water Provisions of the fresh produce rule
Foreign Supplier Training
University of Georgia
American Greed: Peanut Corporation
Story Core (never launched, but we have them at Food Safety Talks)
Dr. Darin Detwiler
FSMA webinars

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