This week I want to take the opportunity to introduce Jack van der Sanden. During his career, he has pondered many similar questions that I have asked, but from a different background. While attending a conference last fall, I heard Jack speak about Environmental Pathogen Management (EPM). His message about ‘tracking the smoke before the fire’ caught the attention of the audience. With his focus on the importance of sampling, I couldn’t help but ask what this attitude could bring to process monitoring and managing in-process equipment.
With so much emphasis around building a strong EPM program, have we forgotten to look at the physical in-process samples? This can expand to a larger question like, what is the correlation or causation between environmental data and in-process data? Or is there a relationship at all?
I decided to connect with Jack and simply ask, “What is the relationship between environmental and in-process sampling?” Having over 30 years in the global food industry across the supply chain, Jack must have some idea where the solution lies.
He simply replied, “In-process sampling will give you confidence about your process control, whereas environmental sampling provides confidence about your factory control. I believe they complement each other. You need both to have a functioning and proactive Food Safety program.”
Jack previously worked as the General Manager of Food Safety & Quality Assurance at Fonterra. There he redesigned the company’s food safety and quality standards for HACCP and EPM. He started in the Netherlands, then moved to New Zealand and has traveled everywhere in between.
Jack has brought a unique perspective to our internal conversations about sampling, from drawing parallels between the sampling process in the medical and food industries to sharing stories of the late-night audits. His experience and expertise underscore the need for aseptic sampling and techniques to effectively monitor the processes of quality dairy food production in order to ensure confidence in the testing results.
Drawing on his depth of experience, he can provide simple, yet complex reflections on the Food Safety process, the good and the bad.
We are excited to share a selection of articles this year that we hope will raise engaging questions. Check our blog page on March 4th to read Jack’s article, “The Weakest Link.”