U.S – The National Restaurant Association (NRA) has named  Ata (Al) Baroudi, MS, Ph.D., CFS, Vice President of Food Safety and Quality Assurance for The Cheesecake Factory Incorporated, and Christina Serino, Senior Director for Quality Assurance and Food Safety at P.F. Chang’s, as Outstanding Leaders in Food Safety.

Baroudi received the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award for Outstanding Leader in Food Safety, and Serino was named the 2022 Outstanding Leader in Food Safety during the Association’s Food Safety and Quality Assurance (FSQA) Expert Exchange event in September.

The Outstanding Food Safety Awards, sponsored by Ecolab, were developed to honor those whose professions have advanced consumer safety across the industry.

Baroudi has given his thought leadership in organizations that define food safety across business, academia, and government.

Throughout his career, he has been a leader in operational food safety innovation, with a dedication to industry-wide mentorship and workforce development.

“I am extremely honored and thankful for the recognition in receiving this prestigious award that represents a remarkable milestone in my lifelong career in food safety. Preventing any and every foodborne illness has been my goal throughout my career, and I am truly humbled by this recognition.

“I have been very fortunate to work with government agencies, academia and several companies throughout my career. I would like to thank The Cheesecake Factory, for not only recognizing the value of food safety culture, but for giving me the opportunity to create and lead our robust program,” said Baroudi.

Serino was chosen as the 2022 Outstanding Leader in Food Safety in recognition of her commitment to food safety through her professional and personal achievements, which have included enhancing food safety procedures, bringing about innovations to manage food supply systems and foodservice operations, and mentoring other foodservice professionals.

She has more than ten years of expertise in the fields of food safety and quality control, having held both regulatory and private sector positions.

She is responsible for P.F. Chang’s food quality, food safety, regulatory compliance, and governance, social, and environmental issues.

“This is recognition of the hard work and dedication by food safety professionals across the industry. We know food safety is non-negotiable and understand the unique responsibility we carry. At P.F. Chang’s we think about it as a harvest to plate continuum—factoring in everything from supply chains to menu listings.

“It’s top of mind so all our guests, regardless of dietary needs or health profiles, can enjoy a meal knowing the food they’re eating is safe,” Serino said.

The honorees were chosen after the award nominations had been reviewed by a team of six food safety experts, including one from Ecolab and five from the National Restaurant Association FSQA Expert Exchange Steering Committee.

The National Restaurant Association is a restaurant industry business association in the United States, supporting over 500,000 restaurant businesses. It is the largest foodservice trade association in the world.

Last year, John Zimmermann, Vice President of Quality Assurance and Food Safety at First Watch Restaurants, was named as the 2021 Outstanding Food Safety Leader.

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