FoodGrads Podcast Episode 74: What’s it like being a food auditor and participating in a food audit with Gordon Hayburn, Vice President of Food Safety and Quality at Trophy Foods Inc.

On this week’s episode we are covering what’s it like to be a food auditor, what it’s like being a part of a food audit, how audits are helpful to organizations and the different types. But more importantly, we are talking about building a career in food safety, obtaining training, and how to stand out amongst the crowd when you are going to an interview. 

Our guest today is Gordon Hayburn, Vice President of Food Safety and Quality at Trophy Foods Inc. Trophy Foods is a Canadian owned and operated producer of edible nuts, confectionary and bulk foods. Gordon has over 30 years of experience in food manufacturing, food safety, and auditing in both the private and public sector. In addition to being apart of the food technologist program, he also has two master’s degrees, a master’s in food, safety and control and an LLM in food law. Gordon has done so much more than that. However soon after the release of this podcast episode Gordon will be embarking on a new journey of food safety consultant.

Show Notes


[4:06] Gordon’s current role as VP of Food Safety at Trophy Foods and
[5:21] Key roles that Gordon has taken on in his career journey
[11:21] What are audits and the different forms in food processing/manufacturing
[16:38] Standards in food auditing and where they come from and the different food safety bodies
[26:52] How to create a path in food safety after you graduate
[34:13] Finding certifications in food safety and what employers would look for
[43:43] What to do at food safety conferences
[47:59] GFSI Food Safety Initiative

Gordon’s LinkedIn

Trophy Foods Inc.

University of Wales

Tata. Global Beverages

SAI Global

BRCGS Standards


Ontario Food Protections Association

Institute of Food Science and Technology

GFSI Public Safety Initiative

Gordon Hayburn Quotes

So I always feel if you go in audit to look for nonconformity it comes at as a very negative. My way of doing this is when I train auditors and when I audit it myself I will ask the auditor to say [their] objectives and ask that company why they believe they are compliant with the standard.

– Gordon Hayburn

[On auditing a company] You scored this but each auditor will look at different things. The sample will be different. What was going on in the plant at the time will be different. So just because a site may have scored, you know, an A or a AA or a 90 or a 80, that doesn’t mean that they’re actually getting worse. What it means is the audit assessed slightly different things.

– Gordon Hayburn

In order for me to be that grumpy old man, I need to be allowed to become an old man. And I need people to keep me safe. So I need these future food safety stars. So please network with people, reach out, make contact. Ask questions. Attend these webinars, attend these in-person conferences. Get interested in different aspects.

– Gordon Hayburn

Because it’s one of the key skills that people need. And again, I don’t think there are many people that do it well. I have to say, I think we have lots of people who are good at risk identification. They will be able to point out a risk or a hazard, but I’m not sure there are many people who can assess the significance of that risk and what to do about it.

– Gordon Hayburn

Everything I do, everything I lead without good people in my team, I don’t have a good team.

– Gordon Hayburn

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