ARLINGTON, VA — November 10, 2010 — The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) is pleased to announce action by the FMI Board of Directors for the establishment of The Center of Excellence for Food Safety and Protection. The Center will serve as a comprehensive resource for food safety and protection information, initiatives and programs to support FMI members, the food and consumer products industry and consumers.
“Food safety is a priority for retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers. The Center of Excellence for Food Safety and Protection will create a valuable benefit for members as they address all aspects of food safety and protection within their companies,” said FMI President and Chief Executive Officer Leslie G. Sarasin. “The Center will serve as a resource to consolidate our knowledge of food safety and strengthen our commitment to ensuring that the food we sell is as safe as possible.”
The Center of Excellence will bring together food safety experts and professionals from government relations, asset protection, food defense, supply chain management, health and wellness, sustainability and industry relations to address all aspects of food safety.
The collaboration will generate information on the safety of the food supply from farm to table. It will focus on support, services and tools to help members address food safety and protection, including the development of:
- Prevention programs
- Enhanced public/private partnerships
- Strengthened collaborations
- Crisis management
- Stronger response and recovery plans
“All of us in the food industry hold the same expectation as our customers – that the food we bring home to our families is safe,” said Wegmans Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the FMI Board Food Safety Committee Danny Wegman. “The Center of Excellence for Food Safety and Protection will provide us with access to the most timely information and resources related to food safety so we can maintain our goal of providing safe food in our stores.”
Additional resources related to food and agriculture infrastructure such as intentional adverse events, animal welfare issues, and emergency preparation and response plans will also be available through the Center.
Jill Hollingsworth, DVM, has been promoted to FMI Senior Vice President and will lead the Center of Excellence for Food Safety and Protection. She previously served as group vice president of food safety programs. Prior to joining FMI, Dr. Hollingsworth worked at the U.S. Department of Agriculture for 15 years where she was responsible for a wide variety of scientific activities including outbreak investigations, recalls and public health policy. She served as a Captain in the U.S. Air Force Reserves as part of the Biomedical Service Corps, specializing in biological warfare and food defense. She has a BS in agriculture and Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Georgia.
Working in conjunction with Dr. Hollingsworth will be Rhett Asher, FMI’s Vice President of Industry Relations, who will share his expertise in asset protection and loss prevention to the success of the Center of Excellence.
The Center will report to the FMI Board-level Food Safety Committee. FMI membership committees and councils, including the Food Protection Committee and Homeland Security Committee, will provide guidance to the Center.
A new interactive Web site for the Center is currently in development and will serve as a subject-matter repository with easy access to information related to food safety and protection.