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Walmart exec to lead food safety initiative

Frank Yiannas, VP food safety and health at Walmart, was named vice chair elect of The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), an organization created in 2000 by The Consumer Goods Forum. Yiannas will assume the role of vice chair in February 2012 when current vice chair, Yves Rey, corporate quality general manager, at Danone becomes chairman.

“The GFSI board is delighted that Frank has agreed to step up to this challenge and commit to strengthening the position of GFSI around the world,” said chairman Jurgen Matern. “Frank has already demonstrated great leadership by chairing the Global Food Safety Conference committee over the last 12 months, and through his tenure as vice chair, we will continue to develop GFSI as the world’s leading business-driven food safety forum, advancing food safety worldwide.

In his role at Walmart, Yiannas oversees all food safety, as well as other public health functions and training and education of thousands of associates, hundreds of food suppliers. A number of key regulatory compliance issues also come under his purview.

Yiannas was a leader in the world of food safety prior to arriving at Wal-Mart in 2008. He spent 19 years as director of safety and health for the Walt Disney World Company and helped the company with awards for corporate excellence in food safety from the International Association for Food Protection. He received the 2007 NSF International Lifetime Achievement Award for Leadership in Food Safety and also served as past president of the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) and the past chair of the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network’s board of directors. 

“Frank’s appointment as vice-chair will help GFSI to build strategic partnerships, and to drive greater awareness in regions where the GFSI approach is beginning to gain momentum,” Matern said.