FoodGrads Podcast Ep 07- Training the next generation of food safety professionals with Victor Muliyil the Founder of the Risk Optimization Resource Centre

Welcome to episode 7 of the FoodGrads Podcast, this week I interview Victor Muliyil the Technical Director of the Risk Optimization Resource Centre. This centre is a technical group of highly qualified and experienced industry professionals in the food/feed/cannabis and pharmaceutical sectors. This centre offers multi-media, adult learning format, tool kit based training, risk assessment, auditor training and consultancy using leading-edge risk assessment 5 pillar approach to create proven results. Though we will break down what that means in this episode.

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In addition, on this episode, Victor and I will discuss how the risk optimization centre came to be and how it stemmed from him noticing that food auditors today are becoming a little bit lax and how a new approach is needed to train the next generation of food safety leaders.

A lot of this episode is spent talking about the new training that will be offered on the FoodGrads platform and how students can use this training to accelerate their careers right out of school. Opening new careers paths, better chances at getting hired and most importantly learning how become better food safety professionals through new approach to food safety.

I am excited to share this episode because Victor is known as the “trainer of trainers” of food safety. You can tell he cares deeply about food safety and believes the way to change the food industry is by starting with the next generations. As young people, we can bring immense value if we allow ourselves to be open-minded and train ourselves with the right tools.

With that I hope you enjoy the show!

Show Notes

Could you give me a brief background on your path in food safety?

  • Graduated in 1983 with a degree in Biochemistry at the University of Toronto then did a degree in Microbiology
  • Gained industry experience in food safety systems
  • Joined SGS in 1995 and started running the food lab but eventually he joined a team of 8 to train all their teams globally
  • Performed course writing and traveled the world training SGS groups in food safety like HACCP
  • We switched into the Global Food Safety Initiatives. After doing this for 30 years Victor found that auditors were losing their skills. This encouraged Victor to create a new safety method
  • Current venture is to train next generation of food safety auditors. The goal is to educate people through training, e-guides and podcasts (like this one!) in food safety systems, feed, cannabis

You mentioned that auditors are becoming lax. Can you explain more what that means?

  • Victor has started the Risk Optimization Centre in order to train individuals using tool kits and training.

How do you become a food auditor in Canada?

  • Becoming a global food safety auditor is pretty similar across the world whether it is GFSI, SQF or BRC. The basic training to become a certification auditor. First you would get a degree and then you would get industry experience. Then you would move into a managerial role like QA manager or become an apprentice auditor.
  • Victor is trying to develop consultancy auditing. He is trying to create properly trained auditors that can consult companies. This can improve their systems. They are creating tools that allows students to show expertise. Not only for students but also new comers and career changers
  • The traditional path allows you to be qualified even if you have performed 20 inferior audits
  • The Risk Management Optimization Centre isn’t focusing on just teaching on how to go through a checklist. You are showing them the techniques the skills as an auditor, how to understand and identify risk. To see what most people don’t see. They train people to become valuable consultants with the proper techniques and tools. To help companies allocate their resources to the risks that they need to focus on.

FoodGrads is going into the platform to release this program. Can you provide more information as to what this program is all about and what people can expect?

  • Nicole Gallace and Victor have been talking about this program for years. The two of them have had the goal of making people more effective with this goal. The training is meant to have different levels to get you up to speed with food training.
  • Lead implementer bridge training for new grads and career changers. We will teach the skills of implementing different kinds of training.
  • An e-guide will be released for each industry this fall and winter. A series of modules that takes you through the tool kits with instructions on how to implement a food safety system from start to finish. They will be in snippets using the tool kits. Importantly it will include audio! Multi-media will be the focus because people don’t look at manuals.
  • It also teaches you how to implement these things in plants.
  • Divided into four different manuals-
    • Advanced risk assessment: which looks at control validation and hazard analysis etc. Using specific approach of risk optimization
    • Supply chain management – looks at how to manage vendors and effective manage resource
    • Effective corrective action
    • Internal auditing
  • FoodGrads connects grads with industry. This type of program teaches students how to develop a different sort of resume. This will show students how to go a company website pick a product and create a food safety program. By showing an example on your resume you can really stand out from other individuals.
  • Food Safety is a hard thing to demonstrate right out of school. The program is fully online and they are in the process of translating it into other languages.
  • A hiring manager faces the challenge that they can’t hire an expensive experienced person. The problem is a lot time they also bring their own assumptions. There is certificates for this program. By taking a leadership role and showing you can do this you could potentially show that they can save money by using you as a resource.
  • A lot of this training is visual online. Young people have value and their soft skills of typing on key board, accessing information online quickly, absorbing information online
  • We talk about about how traditional food safety training can be quite boring. Death by power point where things are just bullet points. This training is not using these. Colours and word art are used. The value is in this program is someone are coming in with an open fresh approach. You are not coming in saying I know how to do this with flow charts.
  • If you have certificate and there is a recall tomorrow than you have a recall. No one cares. This training is meant to teach you how create a system to teach companies proper food safety systems. Once you have this system in place then you can choose a food safety body which matches your company philosophy

What careers could this training course lead to?

  • Consulting
  • Food Safety Auditing

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Author: Veronica Hislop– Veronica is a Master’s thesis student in the Molecular Science program at Ryerson University. She is also a career partner with FoodGrads and has work experience in the food processing industry working both in R&D and QA.

Currently, she is performing research on water-in-oil emulsions stabilized by fat crystals. When she is not following her scientific endeavors you can find her enjoying Japanese anime, manga and video games

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