Bonus 2 – Why Is Food Safety A Checkoff Priority?

Why would the checkoff be involved in dairy food safety? How does this help dairy farmers sell more dairy?

Listen as Scott Wallin, Vice President of Farmer Communications, discusses how the checkoff is helping the dairy industry increase food safety education with Tim Stubbs, Senior Vice President of Food Safety and Product Research for Dairy Management Inc. They also chat about the food safety resources available to processors and dairy farmers who are interested in creating their own dairy products, such as artisan cheese making and ice cream.

Tune in to find out!

To learn more about the national dairy checkoff and your local dairy checkoffs, please visit www.usdairy.com

Host & Guest:

  • Host: Scott Wallin, Vice President of Farmer Communications, Dairy Management Inc.
  • Guest: Tim Stubbs, Senior Vice President of Food Safety and Product Research, Dairy Management Inc.

Transcript (AI-generated, please ignore the typos)

Scott Wallin  0:00 

Hello, everyone. I’m Scott Walker with dairy management corporate. I’m so happy to bring you another discussion the more insights from our checkoff leadership. This conversation is an extension of the your Dairy Checkoff podcast and it’s designed providing more concise look at Dairy promotion efforts with national and local leaders.

Then joined by Tim Stubbs, my colleague at Dairy management Incorporated, Tim serves as Senior Vice President of food safety and product research. Tim, how you doing today?

Tim Stubbs  0:30 

Great. Thanks for having me, Scott.

Scott Wallin  0:33 

You know, I’m so excited to talk to you about food safety, and this is right in your wheelhouse. And it’s a subject that the Dairy Checkoff takes very seriously and should be very important to our dairy farmers who may not think about it as much as you do. So let’s start with that question right there. Why does food safety matter? To dairy farmers? Why is it such a big checkoff priority?

Tim Stubbs  0:53 

It’s not? That’s a great question. So if you really think about it, we’re all in the business of making food, nourishing our customer really feeding the country. And we can’t do that if the food we make isn’t safe. If you think about you consume the food, you’re your friends, your family, and nobody wants to make anybody sick. Beyond that, economically, for any company that has a problem. Often a food safety issue or recall is minimum expensive, frequently puts them out of business. And when we have really big recalls, will actually impact the entire industry and will drag down the entire volume of a commodity group. Back in 2011, there was a candle recall, most people remember it or not, but it was literally a 40% decline in candle volumes for over a year. And a major impact there was farmers who were just simply plowing their fields under because there was nowhere to sell it even though they had not been involved in the issue. So that’s a lot of the reason why we focus on this. It’s protect our reputation. And really, it’s a great source of growth for dairy as well with a lot of small producers, artists, and farmstead and a number of the farmers that I need actually are making cheese and ice cream on farm.

Scott Wallin  2:02 

Being about the food safety work that you’re part of. This isn’t just the Dairy Checkoff. This is really the whole industry that set the table. Can you talk us through a little bit about exactly who do we work with on food safety?

Tim Stubbs  2:16 

Yeah, that’s a great question. And it’s a great story. The reality is is the checkoff and DMI puts very, very little into this from a resource standpoint, really yours truly and a little bit of a couple other people’s time. But all the money and all the expertise and most of the work is done by the processors. It’s done with partnerships with that with academia, it’s done through grants. So this is really one where the rest of the industry has stepped up. And the farmer is able to convene, and really set the agenda. So the Innovation Center for us dairies, I know most of you are familiar, is where we convene the industry. So we bring together all the different aspects, not just the farmer, but this is where the farmer priorities that can’t be executed by the farmer. This is where we influence the rest of the industry. So in the case of food safety, I have the head of food safety quality from 18 of the largest dairy companies as part of my leadership team. Eight of those are coops. A couple of those are private companies. And then in addition, I have a couple of dairy farmer, board members, one who makes cheese one who makes ice cream, they’re there for advice, to make sure what we’re doing is applicable to the really small guys. And I gotta tell you like the head of quality, the executive vice president global from some of these companies, is just jazzed to sit with a small cheese maker and hear his perspective and understand how things are really working at his level. So for all of those folks, it’s really a give back. They literally are giving their time and their money and they’re paying for their own travel. They’re usually hosting and sponsoring our work so that we don’t have to put any checkoff funds into it. And then behind that 20 people, there’s 120 volunteers. So this is people who own small ice cream companies, people who own small cheese companies, it’s academics, it’s graduate students, and lots and lots and lots of the middle tier and the processors. So the Director of Quality over two or three plants for Dairy Farmers of America or Landa lakes or Hillard Hill, Mr. Schreiber, Perino, really all the big dairy companies that you know, we have volunteers who work on this with us. So

Scott Wallin  4:21 

great see companies large and small unite over food safety, because I know I’ve heard heard you say support that that an issue for one company is an issue for the whole industry. So really good to see everybody kind of come together and rally and support one another that way, you know, the last thing I want to ask you is obviously your group has come together and created a lot of resources. Can you just walk through what some of those resources are and where can people find them?

Tim Stubbs  4:48 

Yeah, that’s another great question. And it’s really the core of what we do and where there is a lot of work. There’s kind of two groupings, I would say two broad groupings. There are things that are new to the world and this is where the power or the Innovation Center really comes together? There are things that some people know a good answer other people know a different good answer. And what we do is we get them all together. And we work through, we call that best practice sharing. And sometimes the big companies known the small companies don’t, but frequently, it’s how do you do this? How do you do this, and then at the end of the day, we’ll get a group together, and we’ll do a webinar on it, we’ll write it up, we’ll put it into one of our guidance documents. So our most recent January was best practices for keeping foreign materials out of your product. So how do I make sure there’s not you know, bits of plastic in my cheese, amazing things come come out. And it’s amazing didn t to amazing for me to see somebody who has been an expert was born recognized go, never thought of that. That’s really good. I’m gonna go back home, and I’m going to implement it. So we have multi day workshops, we have 150 Page guidance document, we got some pretty deep stuff in that class. I think more importantly, what we’ve done is we’ve said, Okay, you guys pretty much know this, you know how to clean a plant, you know how to do monitoring to understand the plant is clean, you know how to do and that microwork. Let’s teach everybody else, there’s a whole suite of tools available. We use usda.com, backslash food safety, there is an artisan section within that which is really aimed at the smaller producers, and that’s us dairy.com, backslash artisan. And within that you will find we have two curated websites, aimed at small producers, we have safe ice cream.org. And we have make safe cheese.org. And those are tools that are really specifically curated. So I’m making 1020 40,000 pounds of cheese a year. Here’s what I need to do for my employee training, here’s a video, here’s a four minute video your employee should watch before they walk in the door. Here’s what I need to do, to put my templates together to have a proper food safety plan. So if I get the chance to sell to a big grocery store, and they ask for that I can say here it is another resource that we have. And this is something we work together with our academic partners, and received a $400,000 USDA grant, we have free education, we have biweekly office hours, if you want to understand how to control your allergens, you just jump on that one, these are done through Cornell. Also through that same program, you can call an 800 number. So again, you’re on you’re making cheese at a farm level, you’re making ice cream, your your your neighbors, your your cousin is running a small ice cream company. And that’s what I find a lot I find that there’s a lot of farm families were part of the families running the dairy farm, but to the siblings have gone off and started an ice cream company and it’s become a multi state regional player. And for them, they can say I’m struggling with what does this mean, right? I’m doing my environmental monitoring program. But I don’t understand what what the code means by the word Kappa, you can just call for a 800 number, or send an email and it’s actually manned at Cornell. And it’s not just academics. The the first academic you hit there actually used to run Unilever North America’s ice cream quality group. So we’ve got real great expertise lined out between those two websites, the 800 number, the bi weekly office hours, if you know you have a question or a need, there’s resources to help you get those answers. The other big thing that we did and most of these we’ve done a couple of years ago, is we said what are the basics? How do people get a basic learning? Oh, and by the way, we know you get up at 6am and go to bed at 10 and you got to do the books and you got to pay the employees and get it. So we’ve created online food safety education courses, you can take them at your own speed, you can take one module, go away, come back a week later take another module those are hosted through North Carolina State University. They were done by the Innovation Center. They were vetted by the best experts in the industry. They were written by a combination of academics and people just volunteering their time. We have one for ice cream we have one for cheese and those are again both available on those websites. So that’s just that’s a little bit of it’s got yeah

Scott Wallin  9:14 

it’s amazing what all is there available not just to the to the large and small players of the industry but again like you said for those dairy farmers that might want to get involved in some production of cheese ice cream or or milk. Well Tim, I appreciate your time today. So great catching up with you and dairy farmers who want to learn more about their Dairy Checkoff. Be sure to visit Dairy Checkoff. podcast.com Thanks a lot, Tim. Thanks, Don.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

podcast earbuds

Want to give us feedback and win a pair of Your Dairy Checkoff Podcast ear buds?

If you are a dairy farmer or a dairy industry professional, we would love to get your feedback on the podcast. Just fill out this short survey and you’ll be registered to win a pair of Your Dairy Checkoff Podcast ear buds. One in five wins! Click here to take the survey!