By Gene Russell, Manex President and CEO

I recently sat down with Manex Consultant Michael Guerini, Ph.D.  to discuss food safety basics for food manufacturers and when a food manufacturing company could benefit from working with a food safety consultant.  Dr. Guerini has over 10 years of experience in food safety, specializing in Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) audit protocols, biologics, and remediation.  He is proficient in microbiology, food safety, auditing, audit preparation, and quality assurance; and skilled in developing production plant standard operating procedures (SOP), sanitation standard operating procedures (SSOP), hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP), and Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) plans. Dr. Guerini received his doctorate in Veterinary Molecular Biology from Montana State University, a Master of Science degree in Plant Pathology from Auburn University, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular Biology from San Jose State University.

When does a food production company or a food manufacturer need to hire a food safety consultant?

As a food manufacturer or food storage and distribution company owner, there are many rules and regulations you need to know about and follow. You are already a success because you are operating the business of your dreams…but you are not likely a subject matter expert in everything “food.” A food safety consultant is a subject matter expert (SME) in everything “food.” A food safety consultant is an SME – sometimes with expertise in a wide array of areas and some with a narrow focus.


First, what is a food safety consultant?

Food safety consultants are experts in the arena of food safety that can help you:

  1. Keep your customers from getting sick,
  2. Navigate regulations from FDA or USDA
  3. Provide another pair of eyes that help you maintain product safety, and
  4. Review your procedures and help you develop programs that build stronger food safety and quality guidelines.

A food safety consultant can help you meet your customer service goals, food safety goals, build your business and train your employees.

Below are two reasons your food manufacturing or food storage and distribution company needs a food safety consultant.

  1. Employee Welfare – Work/Life Balance
    This person you hire is that extra support so your team does not feel overwhelmed. With a food safety consultant, you are getting someone who has walked the path before and can help your team get things done more efficiently and with less stress. When you bring on an expert to help your team, it shows your commitment to the customers as well as your team members.
  2. Compliance
    There are regulations to follow for both USDA and FDA. As a manufacturer or storage and distribution company, some of your customers may want you to undergo a 3rd party certification (BRC, SQF, FSSC 22000, IFS, GAP, etc). No matter which food safety management system you follow, you want to maintain your certifications. For the regulatory and certification standards, you have to follow many guidelines for legal compliance and certification. Staying on top of everything requires detail and subject matter expertise.

In summary, the “when” you need to hire a food safety consultant depends very much on how much success you want for your business. If you want to 1) grow, 2) protect your customers, and 3) keep your staff happy and feeling supported – then it is time to reach out and talk with someone about getting a food safety consultant for your team.

Can you outline your active areas of food safety consulting expertise that we deploy for Manex manufacturing partners and clients?

I specialize in working with companies in the following areas:

  • Food Microbiology (fermentation)
  • Food Microbiology (spoilage/consumer safety)
  • Food Production (plant sanitation)
  • Food Production (process improvement)
  • Quality Assurance
  • Food Safety (HACCP/FSMA)
  • Crisis & Incident Management
  • Audit Preparation (GMP/GFSI/DC/specialty programs and gap assessments for all audits)


To learn more about food safety or for a complimentary consultation, contact Manex at 925-807-5100 or