Food Safety News (FSN) was created in 2009 by food safety attorney Bill Marler to fill a void in public health media coverage. Since its inception, FSN has provided dedicated journalism addressing critical food safety concerns. As FSN marks its 14th anniversary, the extent of our expansion and influence encourages us to continue on our vital mission.

A look back at the start
As traditional print and broadcast news outlets grappled with slashed budgets, journalists with specialized expertise in food, health and safety were marginalized. Marler created FSN as a bridge, assembling a cadre of adept reporters empowered to delve into food safety matters with unparalleled rigor. Swiftly, the platform evolved into a foremost source of comprehensive and timely food safety news.

FSN’s infancy was defined by grit and innovation. With funding and support from Marler, the inaugural editorial staff — comprising Helena Bottemiller, Susan Schreck and Dan Flynn —embarked on a mission to provide insights that set FSN apart. Their groundbreaking, in-depth reports, complemented by contributed articles and perspectives from industry luminaries, solidified FSN’s position as a trailblazer.

A pivotal figure in this trajectory was FSN’s original and current Editor in Chief, Dan Flynn. Flynn’s steadfast commitment to precise and prompt reporting solidified FSN’s stature as a frontrunner in the industry. His seasoned journalistic background, encompassing coverage of pivotal events such as Idaho’s Teton Dam collapse and the suicide bombing at Washington State University’s Perham Hall, provided FSN with a distinctive edge in on-the-ground reporting.

The digital age fueled FSN’s rapid expansion. The platform’s yearly web traffic, a testament to its burgeoning influence, surged to eclipse 15 million unique visitors and an astonishing 45 million pageviews in the past year alone. This meteoric growth paralleled a remarkable social media following: 202,000 on Facebook, 42,500 on Twitter/X, 4,500 on Instagram and 32,000 on LinkedIn.

Under the visionary guidance of Bill Marler, FSN has resonated with a global audience deeply invested in food safety. The platform’s domestic and international reporters have garnered acclaim for their coverage encompassing policy, politics, foodborne illness outbreaks, sustainability, science and research. FSN reporters have gained access to pivotal institutions, cementing the platform’s reputation as an unwavering source of credible information.

Going forward
As FSN celebrates its 14-year milestone, it stands poised to continue its transformative journey, propelling progress and upholding its commitment to securing a safer food supply for all.

In its distinctive position as a nexus between industry leadership, governmental bodies and the public, FSN has become an indispensable daily read for those vested in food safety. Envisioning a broader impact on the global discourse surrounding food safety, FSN seeks to unearth novel dimensions of food safety reporting, fostering dialogues that transcend national borders and industry sectors.

Coral Beach, the present managing editor, remarked, “I joined the Food Safety News team in 2016 as managing editor. I was well aware of the news site before coming on board and was beyond thrilled to have the opportunity to join the groundbreaking publication. The sustained expansion of our subscriber base and follower list assures me that the publication remains as pertinent today as when Bill Marler founded it.”

Chuck Jolley, FSN’s Sales and Marketing Director, encapsulated the enduring impact of individuals who defy conventions and champion a cause: “I met Bill 15 years ago when we were establishing the Meat Industry Hall of Fame. He bought a table at the inaugural dinner, even though he was viewed as an evil entity by the industry at the time. His hard work ‘convinced’ them to clean up their act and their leaders established the benchmark for how to do it. At the time, he was paying the FSN bills out of his pocket. A few years later, he asked me to write a marketing program that could make it a paying proposition. I thought it had tremendous potential but its distribution was less than 9,000 people. Today, it reaches 50,000+ direct subscribers and more than 300,000 through social media. It has become the major player in furthering food safety around the world.”

Chuck’s insight resonates with the enduring impact of those who dare to challenge norms and propel a cause forward. As Food Safety News marks 14 years of influence, it stands as a testament to the potency of persistence, transformative journalism and the relentless pursuit of a safer, more informed global food supply.

If you’re not already a daily subscriber, consider signing up or following us on social media to help us in our pursuit of shedding light on critical food safety issues.

Other noteworthy contributors and staff

Staff Writer Joe Whitworth covers food safety policy, outbreaks and more across the globe. Cookson Beecher is an award-winning contributor who produces in-depth pieces on topics capturing the attention of the food safety world.

Some notable contributors in the past for Food Safety News include Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists Andrew Schneider and Ross Anderson. Schneider’s enduring legacy with FSN lies in his groundbreaking report on honey safety, a piece that remains a subject of ongoing readership and discussion. Anderson’s commitment to food safety led him on extensive journeys, including visits to Chilean fish farms and processing facilities, underscoring his dedication to in-depth reporting.

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