May 17, 2020

NSF International names winners for 2015 Food Safety Leadership Awards

Supply Chain
food safety
Supply Chain
Frazer Jones
2 min
NSF International names winners for 2015 Food Safety Leadership Awards
Rigorous food safety best practices are vital at every point along a supply chain—thats a point that can never be stressed enough. In part of an o...

Rigorous food safety best practices are vital at every point along a supply chain—that’s a point that can never be stressed enough. In part of an ongoing effort to draw attention to that fact, as well as to honor teams and individuals who have strived to keep food safety a part of their core values, yesterday global public health and safety organization NSF International announced the winners of its 2015 Food Safety Leadership Awards.

The Food Safety Leadership Awards took place during the 2015 Food Safety Summit, held this year at the Baltimore Convention Center. The awards recognized individuals and team representing the best of food safety innovation plus food safety training and education. This year’s awards went out to the following leaders found outstanding in their fields:

2015 NSF Food Safety Leadership Awards for Innovation:

  • Dr. Robert O’Connor – Senior Vice President of Technical Services, Foster Farms
  • US Foods Food Safety and Quality Assurance (FSQA) Team
    • Jorge Hernandez, Senior Vice President, FSQA
    • Frank Ferko, Director, Distribution FSQA
    • Jim Sing, Matt Martin, Stephen Posey, Dawn Frider and Charles Clayton, Regional FSQA Managers

2015 NSF Food Safety Leadership Awards for Training and Education:

  • Dr. Bob Whitaker – Chief Scientific Officer, Produce Marketing Association
  • Peter J. Fulgenzi – Executive Chef, Indiana University Health – North and Saxony Hospitals

Each of these leaders went above and beyond in their fields to earn this recognition. Dr. O’Connor for example was recognized for his ongoing efforts to control and reduce instances of Salmonella, achieving an internal rate of 5 percent or less in raw poultry parts at Foster Farms (five times lower than the industry average), while the FSQA team at US Foods was lauded for encouraging and prioritizing food safety standards and certifications within the third party logistics industry.

“In presenting these awards, we honor the winners for their contributions to food safety and the protection of public health,” said Kevan P. Lawlor, NSF International President and Chief Executive Officer. “The work of Robert O’Connor, Bob Whitaker, Peter Fulgenzi and the US Foods team has contributed to important advances in food safety innovation, research, education and training. Their leadership and enthusiasm in applying science-based methods, information sharing, collaboration and training to solve vital food safety issues embodies the spirit of NSF International’s Food Safety Leadership Awards.”

For more on the awards and this year’s winners, get more in depth here

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Jun 21, 2021

McDonald’s Drive-Thru attendants replaced with AI

Helen Adams
2 min
AI is ready to take orders from customers at McDonald's in Chicago and a nationwide rollout is likely

Fast food goliath McDonald's has trialled an AI voice recognition system at several drive-thrus in Chicago, USA, expanding from the one single test in a restaurant launched a few years ago. 

As the price of food rises, businesses look for ways to save money and cutting out entry-level jobs, such as drive-thru attendants, is one option.


AI helps businesses, but threatens jobs

In the post-pandemic era, utilising AI technology seems like a sensible idea. AI outperforms human labour in a number of ways:

  • AI drive-thru attendants do not get sick, do not need sick leave, parental leave, holidays, weekends or time off
  • AI do not require payment and cannot set up a Trade Union
  • AI do not have rights
  • AI cannot be late for work
  • AI can be cleaned and remain more hygienic than humans


For these reasons, many are concerned that AI could take away job opportunities.

At 16, Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon and the richest man in the world, took his first job in the fast food franchise. Bezos said he became grateful for the experience of working under pressure and that the role also taught him about being a good manager. Employing AI in such roles will mean less people get to learn from these entry level jobs. 


AI accuracy lacking at McDonald's

McDonald's purchased the drive-thru voice technology from the startup Apprente in 2019.

Apprente creates speech-based AI businesses. The business “delivers enterprising solutions for a broad range of customer service applications that presently necessitate human interaction”.

But the AI technology used in the McDonald’s drive-thru so far, is reportedly only 85% accurate and one fifth of orders need help from a human to put through. For customers with specific dietary requirements, this could lead to problems in order mix-ups. 

Regardless, CEO Kempczinski has estimated five years before a national rollout.

"There's still a lot of work, but (...) we feel good about the technical feasibility of it and the business case," Kempczinski said in a conference transcript from FactSet.

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