Dr. Lee Johnson has nearly 15 years experience in the food industry, including technical roles in research and development as well as food safety and processing. Johnson is a graduate of Virginia Polytechnic University (B.S.) and Texas A&M (M.S. and Ph.D.). Most recently, he was appointed to USDA’s National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods by Agricultural Secretary Tom Vilsack. Johnson joined West Liberty Foods LLC in 2009.
Several large-scale recalls have been issued recently for products containing foreign material, which creates headlines that draw a lot of attention to how the industry keeps foreign material from contaminating the food supply.
Someone who has never been through a recall doesn’t truly understand how costly even a small mistake can be. According to a New Jersey PIRG study, food recalls and foodborne illnesses cost approximately $77 billion each year in the United States alone.
When a person walks into a grocery store and picks up a package of sliced deli meat, there would be two things that person would do: First, he or she would look at the expiration date, then that person would look at the overall appearance of the meat inside.
When we use the term “process control” in food manufacturing, we evoke the idea of sophisticated manufacturing control systems and elaborate statistical graphs of microbiological or other analytical data. This is certainly the mainstream method of operations when detail is critical to the food-safety systems, such as temperature or pH control.