Stop Foodborne Illness, the national nonprofit public health organization dedicated to the prevention of illness and death from foodborne pathogens, Thursday announced a transition is underway for its top leadership job as a valued executive moves on.

Deirdre Schlunegger, who has served as the Chief Executive Officer of Stop Foodborne Illness since 2010, disclosed her forthcoming plans to retire from her position on May 31, 2019.

Until then, she will be working closely with the Chicago-based Stop Foodborne Illness Board to help identify her successor and assist with the transition to new leadership.

“Stop Foodborne Illness changed my life when they reached out in 2009 after I contracted E. coli O157: H7,” said Lauren Bush, Board Co-Chair of Stop Foodborne Illness. “Deirdre assumed leadership of the organization shortly thereafter, and we have worked together for nearly a decade elevating stories of impacted families like mine. I believe I speak for all the families of the Stop Foodborne Illness community when I say that Deirdre has a heart of gold and cares deeply for all of us. We sincerely thank her for nine years of dedicated service and unwavering commitment to making food safer for all of us.”

Working closely with Stop’s board of directors, Schlunegger will be actively involved in seeking out the most qualified candidates to replace her in this important role and will lead the transition process before she officially steps down.

“I am grateful for having the great privilege of working with many amazing people who have lived through significant trauma related to foodborne illness,” said Schlunegger. “They have made a difference in our world of food safety. I wish to thank Stop Foodborne Illness, its Board of Directors and its supporters for sustaining this important work.”

“Deirdre has been a steadfast leader and steward of Stop Foodborne Illness during a time of dynamic change for food safety and for Stop as an organization,” said Michael Taylor, Board Co-Chair and former FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine. “She will be leaving our organization stronger than she found it, for which all of us are enormously grateful.”

Schlunegger also has served as an advisory member of the Joint Institute of Food Safety and Nutrition (JIFSAN) and is a participating member of the Safe Food Coalition and the Make Our Food Safe Coalition. She serves as Commissioner of the International Food Science Certification Commission.

“She will be missed,” said Bill Marler, the nation’s most prominent attorney for victims of foodborne illness. “Her professionalism and caring in working with victims of foodborne illness helped make STOP the preeminent advocacy group helping protect the rights of food consumers in the Untied States.” Marler is also publisher of Food Safety News.

Darin Detwiler who lost his infant son to E. coli O157: H7 in the Jack-in-the-Box outbreak 25 years ago knows Stop Foodborne Illness both as the parent of a victim and later as the organization’s policy analyst.

Detwiler is now the assistant dean, the Lead Faculty of the MS in Regulatory Affairs of Food and Food Industry, and Professor of Food Policy at Northeastern University in Boston. He credits Schlunegger with leading Stop Foodborne Illness through a critical era of regulatory change.
Detwiler says in working alongside Schlunegger, how Stop has “some pretty big shoes to fill” as the work the organization does for victims and their families. He says it is a job that need real passion and isn’t something that can be fulfilled by “artificial intelligence.”

Before joining Stop Foodborne Illness, Schlunegger held the position of President & CEO of Make-A-Wish Foundation of Oklahoma. Prior to that, she was Vice-President of Chapter Relations at Breast Cancer Network of Strength. Deirdre has served as the Executive Director of a Chicago organization addressing issues of domestic violence and led a national organization related to children and physical challenges.

Schlunegger graduated from Colorado State University with a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies, completed a Child Life Internship at Johns Hopkins Children’s Hospital, and completed a program in Nonprofit Management at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Numerous leadership courses she has attended include the Wharton School of Business and the University of Chicago. She has completed a certificate program in conflict resolution, and she previously served on the Advisory Committee of the Chicago Mayor’s Office on Domestic Violence.

Additionally, she has participated as a member of the Illinois Juvenile Court Domestic Violence Committee and was a Board Member of the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Potential candidates for the top leadership position at Stop Foodborne Illness CEO can find information about the application process at

Stop Foodborne Illness Is Here to Help You
Stop Foodborne Illness is a national, nonprofit, public health organization dedicated to preventing illness and death from foodborne pathogens by promoting sound food safety policy and best practices, building public awareness and assisting those impacted by foodborne illness. For more food safety tips please visit If you think you have been sickened from food, check this out and contact your local health professional.

For questions and personal assistance, please contact Stop Foodborne Illness’ Community Coordinator, Stanley Rutledge, at or 773-269-6555 x7. To donate to Stop, visit here.

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