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No. 10: Donna Schaffner

A deadly salmonella outbreak in 2008 galvanized national food safety regulators to be proactive, rather than reactive. Food microbiologist Donna Schaffner had at that point spent two decades steering food manufacturers through best practices in food safety, and a connection with the Food and Drug Administration put her and a handful of others up to the task of writing one of the Food Safety Modernization Act’s eight cardinal rules: Current Good Manufacturing Practice and Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food.

Under the rule, every company that makes FDA-inspected food products (other than seafood and juice, which are subject to a different certification) is required to have a qualified individual on site in charge of writing and adhering to a food safety plan.

As associate director of food safety, quality assurance, and training at the Rutgers Food Innovation Center, she trains hundreds of people each year on preventive controls and more. She’s one of the few people in the world with a top-tier certification to train on preventive controls, meaning she can train the trainers — and she’s trained more people on the rule than anyone else.

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