U.S – Fresh Express Inc., the brand leader in value added salads has announced the addition of two key managers to its corporate food safety and quality team.

According to John Gurrisi, Vice President of Food Safety and Quality, the new additions accentuate the company’s continuing commitment to food-safety excellence and to ensuring the highest levels of product integrity.

Zhe (Harry) Hou has been named Director of Food Safety and will be based at the company’s Streamwood, Illinois facility serving in a companywide capacity. 

Hou has over 15 years of experience working in academia on research projects funded through the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and holding various leadership roles in industry and food safety professional associations.

Prior to joining Fresh Express, Hou oversaw food safety and sanitation at manufacturing and distribution sites, conducted HACCP validations and auditing programs in addition to managing high-risk ingredients and global supplier programs.

He also directed shelf life testing, and supported regulatory inspections for such companies as Farmers’ Fridge, Wrigley Americas and Kraft Foods Group.

Hou received his Ph.D. in food science with an emphasis in food safety from the University of Minnesota, where his research focused on understanding the interaction and natural internalization at the molecular level between human pathogens and fresh produce.

Jacob Aguirre joins Fresh Express as Corporate Senior Manager of Sanitation, based in the Salinas, California, facility.  He will provide sanitation leadership and support to all Fresh Express facilities throughout the United States.

Aguirre has more than 14 years of plant sanitation and food-safety experience, including many years fulfilling wide-ranging sanitation responsibilities supporting Commercial Food Sanitation LLC and produce industry groups for Hygiene Design Team, Produce Sanitation Best Practices and Hygienic Zoning Team. 

A certified Preventive Controls Qualified Individual, his expertise includes the sanitation continuum and hygienic design of equipment.

Previously, Aguirre held roles with Del Monte/Mann Packing, True Leaf Farms/Church Bros., Earthbound Farms, Kellogg Co. and ConAgra Foods.

In December 2021, Fresh Express recalled certain Fresh Express brand salad products from the marketplace due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

This was after the Michigan Department of Agriculture conducted a random sample and found one packaged salad containing the bacteria.

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