From a lecturer to Food Safety expert, Aparna's career grew exponentially.
“Food Safety is an evolving and challenging field with something always new to learn and implement in this field. ”
Tuesday, August 09, 2022
What does a typical day for you at Thane Technical Center look like?
Our products go through multiple handlings and transformations through the supply chain before reaching our consumers. Food hazards can occur at any point from farm-to-fork. Thus, it is important for every food manufacturer to implement food safety policies and programs to mitigate the food safety risk. As part of the Global Food safety team, I support effective deployment of MDLZ science-based Food Safety and regulatory management programs from design to execution. A typical day at Thane Technical Center may involve designing Food Safety aspects for new products or processes, review of implementation of existing programs covering our factories, external manufacturers and suppliers & designing/updating our policies and programs based on new scientific update or learnings.
Since the regulations are dynamic in your field, how do you keep yourself abreast and on top of these ever-changing regulations?
We closely collaborate with both our Scientific Affairs and Regulatory teams at two levels. One, they keep us up to date with the ever-changing regulatory landscape and ensure that the ingredients we source and the products we make in our factories are compliant. Global Food safety team also provides them inputs on draft regulations so they can accordingly engage with relevant bodies. We partner with internal stakeholders to update our internal process/programs to comply with the regulatory requirement. We also keep a tab on Food Safety related regulatory changes globally and try to ensure our readiness to meet the compliance.
What made you want to be in the Food Safety domain and why specifically MDLZ as an organisation - any childhood memory associated with MDLZ?
Food Safety is an evolving and challenging field with something always new to learn and implement in this field. I remember reading this somewhere “Food Safety is not a Job -But it’s a mission”, which resonates with what I do daily. Once I completed my Masters in microbiology, the regular career options at that time were to either go into research or teaching. I started my career as a lecturer. However, in few months, I came to know about the trainee program at Mondelēz International Induri factory (Cadbury during that time). I attempted it because it was Cadbury and I was curious to see a chocolate factory. I was quite impressed with the entire selection process. Since I was fresh out of college and not exposed to this kind of industry, the factory manager took time during the interview process to guide me about the possible career paths in Mondelēz. This opened a whole new world for me which was very exciting.
While growing up, a Cadbury was something, we had to “earn”. During my school days, Math as a subject wasn’t my strength and once during my 3rd grade, I thought that I was going to fail. My dad had gone to get the report card. My dad just knocked on the door and as I opened the door, I saw my report card kept on the study table with a Dairy Milk Crackle bar on top! Turns out, failing wasn’t something I needed to worry about at all😊
What has been your most cherished memory of working with MDLZ or the biggest challenge you have overcome?
One of the most cherished memory of working in Mdlz was my Factory stint at Induri. My exposure to the factory role and the people I worked with have played a major role in moulding me professionally. I still remember my first chocolate project which was Cadbury Dairy Milk Silk launch in India. When the first product came on the conveyer belt, the sense of accomplishment, joy, and celebration by the different cross-functional teams, is something I can never forget!
From the time you started working in MDLZ to where you are now, what in your opinion is the “X Factor” that you have developed over a period of time?
Being approachable and my ability to connect with people. I always believe in building strong interpersonal relationships with the colleagues I work with.
What type of projects or experiences have you done to help grow your career in different ways at Mondelēz International?
Starting my career in a factory role helped in shaping my functional experience. The time spent on the shopfloor, understanding product manufacturing process helps one visualize various aspects during decision making. Mdlz being a multicategory business, means I have the continuous opportunity to work with different product categories like chocolates, cakes, cheese, biscuits, gums and candies in different countries. This helps me in understanding the different food safety regulations and food safety culture in different parts of the world.