Walmart has a new vice president for global food safety compliance. Sara Mortimore officially begins the duties of the position May 13, taking over where Frank Yiannas left off when he moved to public service with the FDA.

Mortimore joins Walmart’s top management after having been vice president of product safety, quality and regulatory affairs at Land O’Lakes. At the iconic company known best for its butter, Mortimore was responsible for food safety and quality for all Land O’ Lakes businesses, farm to fork.

“Walmart has embraced emerging digital technologies while not losing sight of the foundational elements of sound food safety management,” Mortimore said in statement issues by Walmart. “It is adapting to an increasingly complex global supply chain and changing consumer demands with an innovative mindset in food safety that is exciting to now be part of.”

Daniel Trujillo, executive vice president and global chief ethics and compliance officer at Walmart, pointed to Mortimore’s publishing record as well as her traditional business experiences as assets for her hew job. 

“Sara is an expert on quality and food safety management with over 30 years of experience covering the entire supply chain. She is a co-author on a number of books on the topic of food safety and in particular the HACCP system. Her main academic interest is the development of integrated food safety and quality management using a risk-based approach,” Trujillo said in Walmart’s announcement about Mortimore’s start date.

“Sara will lead our Global Food Safety Compliance group and program across the company. Sara’s prior experience leading quality, strategy, continuous improvement, and change management makes her a perfect fit for this role.”

Mortimore studied food science and technology at Seale-Hayne Agriculture College and earned her master’s of ccience from Leicester University, both in the UK. She will report to Walmart’s senior vice president for global regulatory compliance, Chris Cyrenne.

Walmart’s previous vice president for global food safety compliance, Frank Yiannas, left the retailer in 2018 to go to work for a new boss, as he puts it — the American public. He is now deputy commissioner for food policy and response at the Food and Drug Administration. 

While at Walmart, Yiannas oversaw the multinational retailer’s giant step to tighten the food supply chain. He is recognized as the man behind the massive retailer’s move to use block chain technology to collect and use a variety of information, including traceback information on foods. 

Prior to the implementation of block chain technology, it took days, sometimes longer than a week, for Walmart to trace food back to its source. Now, the retailer can perform the same traceback in a matter of seconds, which means getting food out of the stream of commerce faster during recalls and foodborne illness outbreaks.