NSF International, a global independent public health organization, has honored Robert O’Connor, DVM, senior vice president of technical services at Foster Farms, with a 2015 Food Safety Innovation Award. The award, announced at the Food Safety Leadership Awards ceremony during the Food Safety Summit in Baltimore, Maryland, honors outstanding breakthroughs in food safety and individuals who have made a lasting impact.

Dr. O’Connor was selected for the award by NSF International’s independent panel of food safety experts for his leadership in developing a comprehensive Salmonella control program.

Under his leadership, Foster Farms implemented a multi-hurdle approach to controlling Salmonella that extended through all areas of the company’s operations – from breeder stock, through grow-out, to the processing plant.  Dr. O’Connor has shared the program with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Centers for Disease Control, and members of the poultry industry as part of a collaborative effort to improve Salmonella control nationwide.

As part of the food safety program, Dr. O’Connor recruited and formed a Food Safety Advisory Board,  an independent group of food safety experts to inform and validate the company’s strategic approach and assess best practices for continuous advancement. He also led the National Chicken Council’s working group on Salmonella reduction. and continues to participate as an active member.

Kevan P. Lawlor, NSF International president and CEO said: “We are pleased to recognize Dr. O’Connor’s food safety contributions with an NSF International Food Safety Leadership Award in the category of innovation. His leadership and enthusiasm in applying science-based methods and encouraging information-sharing embodies the spirit of this award and our mission of protecting and improving human health.”

Ron Foster, Foster Farms president and CEO, commented: “All of us at Foster Farms are proud of Dr. O’Connor’s accomplishments and his dedication to continual advancement in poultry health and food safety – not only for the benefit of our company, our consumer and customers, but for the entire industry. Dr. O’Connor’s dedication is helping to advance poultry production throughout the United States.”