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Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Center

FAPC recognizes food industry leaders through Food Safety Professional program

Oklahoma State University’s Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Center created a Food Safety Professional program to recognize industry leaders specializing in food safety.

By Tori Lock, FAPC Communications Graduate Assistant

(Stillwater, Oklahoma – June 27, 2018) Oklahoma State University’s Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Center created a Food Safety Professional program to recognize industry leaders specializing in food safety.

As food safety evolves, professionals are necessary to ensure quality products are being developed and manufactured, said Pete Muriana, FAPC food microbiologist and chair of the program. The Food Safety Professional program distinguishes individuals who complete a significant number of food safety trainings held by FAPC.

“Food industry representatives from across Oklahoma and even around the nation come to FAPC to get food safety training,” Muriana said. “We saw a need in recognizing these individuals who continually come back to FAPC to receive training and for their focus and drive in providing safe and quality products to consumers.”

FAPC’s trainings not only attract industry participation but also students interested in pursuing a career in the food industry.

“Because of the importance to industry in the topics covered by our various workshops, many of our food science students also take a broad repertoire of our workshops,” Muriana said. “OSU students can qualify for the Food Safety Professional program by participating in our workshops or by taking the equivalent food safety academic courses.”

Muriana hopes employers might consider providing some kind of financial stipend to their employees who receive the award as they become higher valued assets to their organization through participation in trainings.

To become a FAPC Food Safety Professional, individuals must complete at least two trainings from the basic, regulatory and advanced groups of courses. Individuals are required to obtain 10 workshop credits to apply for the program.

Since launching in March, 12 people have applied for the program, and FAPC has awarded seven individuals with the Food Safety Professional certificate. The awarded recipients include:

  • Praveen Yerramsetti, Head Country Food Products
  • Badrinath Jagannathan, University of Kentucky
  • Neeharika Thunga, Value Added Products
  • Tommie Berry, QuikTrip
  • Conner McDaniel, Oklahoma State University
  • Sabra Billups, Oklahoma State University
  • James Hearn, Oklahoma State University

Berry is one of the newest recipients of the program. She applied for the program because QuikTrip, headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma, saw value in the courses and the information she obtained.

“Each time I came back from a class at OSU, I gained a great deal of knowledge and different perspectives that I was able to apply to QuikTrip’s current methodologies to continue fostering a robust and dynamic food safety program,” Berry said. “Being in this industry, we all have one goal: to produce safe food.”

For more information or to apply for the Food Safety Professional program, download the FAPC Connect App by texting FAPC to 80802 or visit www.fapcconnect.com.

FAPC, a part of OSU’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, helps to discover, develop, and deliver technical and business information that stimulates and supports the growth of value-added food and agricultural products and processing in Oklahoma.

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Oklahoma State University is a modern land-grant university that prepares students for success. OSU has more than 36,000 students across its five-campus system and more than 25,000 on its combined Stillwater and Tulsa campuses, with students from all 50 states and around 120 nations. Established in 1890, Oklahoma State has graduated more than 260,000 students who have been serving Oklahoma and the world for 125 years.