At a "PMA Fresh Connections" meeting in Chicago Tuesday, both organizations offered their vision to more than 50 professionals from different segments of the food industry. The interactive program defined what a food safety culture is and why having one is essential to the industry's well being and a company's survival. "A food safety culture needs to be part of every business segment to support this vision," said Jorge Hernandez, senior vice president of food safety and quality assurance for USF. "If you are in the food industry, food safety must be a non-negotiable part of your business plan, not an after-thought. Food safety must be built into every job in every segment of the business, whether it is supplier selection, purchasing and sales, or growing, processing and distributing food."
Hernandez was among the program's speakers, which also included Dr. Robert Whitaker, PMA's chief science officer, who led the series of discussions explaining why food safety must be a part of everyone's business culture. The program followed on the heels of the Obama Administration's announcement last week calling for stronger measures aimed at better protection of the nation's food supply - measures applauded by U.S. Foodservice in a release issued last week.
Hernandez is a board member of the Produce Marketing Association (PMA), Global G.A.P., the Global Food Safety Initiative's Technical Committee and has been a long-time member of the Conference for Food Protection, a non-profit organization of regulators, industry, academia, professional organizations and consumers focused on the development of practices and regulations that ensure food safety in the United States. He also is a registered sanitarian, a past FDA standardization officer and a member of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-Environmental Health Committee.