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Faces of Food Safety: Ryan Bradburn — A Man on an FSIS Mission

Ryan Bradburn conducts investigation into source materials for ground beef that had tested positive for E. coli O26. Photo by Kimberly Burrell, OFO
Ryan Bradburn conducts investigation into source materials for ground beef that had tested positive for E. coli O26. Photo by Kimberly Burrell, OFO.

Ryan Bradburn, an enforcement, investigations and analysis officer (EIAO) in the Springdale district and a 10-year FSIS employee, believes collaboration between the industry and the Agency is important to achieving lasting food safety. As an EIAO, Bradburn sees his role as one of the people who keeps both entities on the same page.

He says, “There have been times when I’ve been able to connect the dots with a plant’s owner. My job is a vital link to improving consistency in the application of regulatory enforcement and analyzing establishments’ scientific support of their food safety decisions. Both are necessary as FSIS learns more about food safety and strives to implement programs that better manage the potential hazards associated with the production of food products.”

“I have to be very meticulous and pay close attention to details when performing my duties, but my job is very satisfying when unsafe products are prevented from entering commerce.”

Ryan Bradburn

Bradburn ensures that meat and poultry slaughter and processing establishments’ Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points plans are adequately supported, validated and implemented. He also performs food safety assessments at these facilities and occasionally finds himself at retail locations where he conducts food safety effectiveness checks to ensure recalled products have been disposed of properly. He says, “I have to be very meticulous and pay close attention to details when performing my duties, but my job is very satisfying when unsafe products are prevented from entering commerce.”

A relatively new FSIS initiative that Bradburn and his fellow EIAOs will be performing consists of providing enhanced customer service to small and very small establishments through outreach visits. This initiative is a proactive approach to enhance the current partnership between FSIS-regulated establishments and the Agency. EIAOs will communicate with plant owners and answer their questions about changes in FSIS policies and offer scientific support for food safety systems, which will help them be better informed, so they can maintain regulatory compliance. Bradburn notes that the program will positively impact everyone in the food safety chain.

“Small and very small plants will benefit greatly from the new outreach initiative as they often don’t have the personnel to assist them in keeping up with changes in policy. We, here at FSIS, will ensure they have access to and receive the information they need,” Bradburn said. “The program is voluntary on the establishment’s part, but if they request the outreach service, we’ll be there to help them improve their food safety systems. This will ultimately be good for FSIS and for the country, overall.”

Perseverance Led to FSIS

Bradburn’s road to FSIS was not an easy one. In 1997, by his own admission, he was struggling at Kansas State University (KSU) as a music major. A year later, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and obtained what he needed — structure, perspective and team dynamics. Of the latter, he says, “The Marines taught me how to effectively be a part of a team that works toward accomplishing a common mission and being more flexible to change. Both are essential skills needed as an EIAO.”

In 2003, Bradburn was discharged from the military and tried his hand at academics again. He re-enrolled in KSU and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Sciences and a Master’s Degree in Public Health (MPH). While in his master's program, Bradburn joined FSIS as a student intern under the Agency’s career internship program. This eventually led to a full-time EIAO position in 2008 upon his graduation from KSU.

A Natural Explorer

The Emporia, Kansas, native is an avid juggler, canoer and cross continental motorcyclist. He recently completed a 17,000 mile trek from Alaska to Argentina on his 2007 Suzuki V-Strom 1000. His four-legged friend is Biei, a 13-year old stray, mixed-breed dog named after a town in northern Japan that Bradburn visited during his time in the Marine Corps.

 

Last Modified Jun 21, 2019