“If you live an ordinary life, you have ordinary stories. Live a life of adventure and you will have the most exciting stories.”
Exotic places, journeys of discovery! These were just stories to a young boy growing up in a Montreal suburb, but they stayed buried in my brain, waiting for the key that could release them.
I moved to the Toronto area, graduated high school and went off to university, majoring in the sciences. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do as a career, but the travel bug still tickled my imagination.
Over the next few years, as I slogged away in a food laboratory, I discovered a new need in the industry. Food manufacturers were starting to adopt a proactive approach to food safety – the hazard analysis, critical control point, (HACCP), system of food safety management.
Along with this system came the need for trainers and auditors to drive the new system. I started to wonder, what if I were to learn how to train companies in how to implement effective HACCP system and conduct audits of these systems. I started working within my own food manufacturing company to start to try out the new HACCP system – it worked wonderfully, improving both food safety consciousness as well as reducing wasted time and resources.
Immediately after being qualified as a HACCP trainer and auditor, I was hired to manage a food laboratory within a global inspection, certification and testing organization.
I saw a chance to finally release the hidden travel bug and combine it with a service that provided real value to the global food industry.
I had to work at it, but I convinced Canadian management–almost as soon as I was hired–to let me join the new global HACCP team. Immediately, I travelled to the USA to begin work with this global team to adopt the new US FDA Seafood HACCP Rule to global exporters.
I was then invited to Geneva, Switzerland for several weeks to write a new training and audit program around this new regulation.
Someone Punched My Ticket to Explore the World
It was as if someone punched my ticket to explore the world and my hidden travel bug exploded into being. Over the next few years, I travelled to more exotic destinations than I could have ever imagined I would. I worked with a partner to deliver HACCP training and perform auditing around the world.
Some of the places I’ve visited include the UK, Colombia, the Philippines, Perú, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Mexico, Thailand, France, Guatemala, throughout the Bahamas, Cuba and the Caribbean, across Canada and the USA.
In all my travels, I had the rare chance to work with different food manufacturers, farms, retailers, restaurant chains, hotel chains, cruise lines, airlines, trucking/shipping companies, government and trade associations. I gained a tremendous amount of knowledge and, more importantly, met some wonderful people, learned from their experience and used it to improve my training and audit skills.
HACCP morphed into ISO 22000, then into the Global Food Safety Initiative schemes. I qualified for several of these schemes, training and auditing them for several years.
Finally, in the past 3 years, I used my global experience to create a new method of training and implementing food safety management to increase effectiveness and optimize resources. This new method, called Food Safety Program Optimization, has created a new global market, this time targeted to making food safety more user friendly and efficient.
I am also committed to training new graduates and career changers looking to enter the exciting world of food safety training and auditing.
Once again, a doorway to the world has opened for me. As I did before, I will use it to try and do my part to improve food safety where I can and train a new wave of people in effective ways of training, implementing and auditing this most important aspect of the food industry. I want this to be my personal legacy. I’m also being a bit selfish, because I love what I do and I love the travel.
I hope to continue following my dream as long as I can, because, as I’ve discovered through my travels, when you understand the world better, you also understand yourself and your self worth. To paraphrase a recent movie quote:
“If you live an ordinary life, you have ordinary stories. Live a life of adventure and you will have the most exciting stories.” The world of food safety has given me that life of adventure, I hope it does the same for you as you begin your journey. Happy travels!
Author: Victor Muliyil
Global Food Safety Trainer and Auditor