Hello and welcome to our interview series, Employee-Owner Spotlight! Pull up a chair and meet Meghan Keeley, our Director of Food Safety and Quality. She is an integral part of our team and helps ensure that the hundreds of thousands of food we ship out each year are safe and of the highest quality.
Note: this interview was conducted before the COVID-19 outbreak.
Bob’s Red Mill: How long have you worked at Bob’s Red Mill, and what does your position involve?
Meghan Keeley: I have been at Bob’s for five years now. As the Director of Food Safety and Quality I oversee the departments and policies that are responsible for ensuring food safety and regulatory compliance for all of our products. Food safety and quality have a presence in all procedures and policies across all aspects of the value chain; from product formulation design and development, raw material specifications and approval, to production Good Manufacturing Practices, traceability and finished good distribution.
What I really have enjoyed in my role, however, is continuing to grow and develop our food safety culture at Bob’s Red Mill. Food safety is not just the responsibility of one person or one department, it takes the collaborative efforts and dedication of all employees, starting from the top executives to the material line operators. Our employees are dedicated to food safety because they understand not just what they are doing and how they are doing it, but why it is important. Food safety is the top priority at Bob’s Red Mill and is shows, it’s just the way we do things around here.
BRM: Where did you work before?
MK: Prior to working at Bob’s Red Mill I worked for Amy’s Kitchen, a frozen food manufacturer, and prior to that I taught clinical microbiology laboratories at UCSF.
BRM: Why did you decide to work at BRM?
MK: Having a tangible product at the end of the day that I can point to, and the pride of being part of the operations team that made it, is important to me. I have always respected Bob’s mission of providing healthy, minimally processed foods to the world, and so when I saw there was an opportunity to join the team, I jumped at it.
BRM: What are some of the major challenges of your position?
MK: Food safety and quality is a moving target, and we are constantly learning as an industry what best practices are and how we can continuously improve. With over 300 raw materials coming into our facility from all over the world, we have to have strict guidelines for inspection and acceptance, and while this might seem overwhelming, I have a great team who ensures that the food is safe when it arrives at our docks, and that anything that does not meet our strict standards is rejected.
BRM: Have there been any unexpected perks of working at Bob’s?
MK: Getting to travel internationally to visit our raw material suppliers has been a huge perk. One of my favorite trips was going to Bolivia to visit some of the quinoa farms that we source from.
BRM: What are your favorite BRM products, and why?
MK: I really love our oatmeal cups. They are a good way for me to ensure I have breakfast, because I usually don’t give myself enough time in the morning to make something, but they are also great to take out on a camping trip. I like that we have traditional flavors like maple brown sugar, and also unique flavors like cranberry orange.
BRM: What do you enjoy doing when you’re not at work?
MK: I have recently transitioned from road running to trail running, and like to spend most of my time away from work on the trails. The Portland area has a great trail running community, and also we have beautiful places to run like Forest Park, which is right in the city.
Our thanks to Meghan for taking a break to answer all of our burning questions! Interested in joining the Bob's Red Mill team? Check out our Careers page.