For most food safety experts, the answer to that question might be “a great resource for consumer education material”, or “the host of a great conference”, or “my go-to place for food safety curricula for K-12”. For me the Partnership for Food Safety Education (PFSE) has been critical to consumer food safety education, but on a personal level, the organization and the people have been trusted colleagues and have helped me build my career over the past fifteen years.
As a young food safety expert and new to the DC world of trade associations, my boss’ boss, in Chicago (who was on the board of the Partnership) would ask me to attend meetings when he could not attend. Considering this an honor, I would gratefully attend the meeting, take copious notes and send a report back to him about the meeting. As this became a more frequent event, I found my voice and participated in the discussions always providing reports back to the decision makers at the time.
As projects were assigned, I volunteered. Through these activities, I made friends with other members of PFSE and found that all of us cared deeply about making a difference in improving the safety of our food supply and protecting public health. Our jobs might have been very different, our backgrounds and even how we approached issues, but our goal was always the same – to decrease foodborne illness.
I have changed jobs twice but am still in DC at a trade association and still working with PFSE. Now I am on the PFSE Board representing the Food Marketing Institute and I am joined by many people who have given years of service in support of consumer health. The goal of making a difference and reducing the risk of foodborne illness is the same. I have learned many lessons from my boss’ boss who has long since retired, to the many outstanding colleagues I have worked with over the years. I have been very fortunate that the one thing that has been consistent throughout my career has been the Partnership for Food Safety Education. Why? Because it is a great organization and because it makes a difference in the health of Americans.