Q&A with David Acheson, President and CEO, The Acheson Group

David Acheson | Universal PureAs part of the 2017 HPP Summit, we asked some of our speakers for more insights into HPP technology and applications. David Acheson, President and CEO of The Acheson Group, has over 30 years of food safety research experience. David kicked off our 2017 HPP Summit with his keynote address: Current Landscape of Food Safety. You can learn more about David on our HPP Summit speakers page.

Q: The Acheson Group consults with food processors on various risks they may encounter from operational, regulation and reputational standpoints. Generally, what are the top couple of risks that the average food or beverage processor tends to be most blind-sided by these days?

A: The main things processors tend to be lacking are environmental control and monitoring programs as well as supply chain risk control.

Q: You’ll be discussing the “Current Landscape of Food Safety” at the 2017 HPP Summit. Overall, do you anticipate a lot more government audits and manufacturer recalls and withdrawals in the coming months?

A: No, not really, I think the current rate of recalls will be maintained and funding will limit the number of inspections that the government can do.

Q: You were in a leadership role at the FDA when Bush Administration handed over to the Obama Administration. How would you describe the impact that a new party in the Oval Office can have on FDA?

A: It can be smooth or disruptive. It really depends on who is in charge at FDA and how deep their knowledge is about food and FDA regulations.

Q: Many of the Food Safety Modernization Act’s rules now start to affect smaller businesses. How do you think this might affect outsourcing of food safety programs to groups such as HPP service providers?

A: FSMA per se will not drive a lot of new business toward HPP, but recognition of risk and the need to protect consumers and brands will be a driver.

Q: Many beverage makers have been seeking more clarification about the FDA’s stance on the use of HPP specifically in lower acid beverages. What needs to happen to get more clarity around issues such as this?

A: My thought would be to show that the technology can be validated to control the risks. That is what FDA generally needs to accept the applicability of a mitigation, whether that’s HPP or other.

Stay tuned for more Q & A sessions coming soon. If you were unable to attend the 2017 Summit, you can check out a quick recap here.