This year’s recipient of the Nancy Rieke award is one of the pioneers of food safety in Wyoming and the only person left that has continuously been involved with the Wyoming Food Safety Coalition (WFSC) since its inception in 1999. She has served on the board from the time it started and currently serves on the board today. This person has dedicated her professional career to food safety and has a passion for teaching food safety. Linda Stratton started her career with the Wyoming Department of Agriculture in 1980 has always used the approach of educating before regulating.
Over the years Linda has taught food safety in one on one setting up to very large group setting teaching as part of a team. Linda has been very involved in putting together the trainings that the WFSC has used over the years and has been involved in updating the trainings when they needed to be updated. She is always coming up with new ideas for the trainings that would keep the participants involved and interested in the trainings. She has done everything from taking pictures of real food establishments to use in trainings to scripting skits of “BAD COOK” to show how not to do things in foodservice and explain to the audience why food safety practices are so important. Linda has been involved with every food safety program the WFSC has ever taught from the basic food safety training (in the beginning) to Food HACCP and Meat HACCP. Linda always gives 110% and plans ahead to make sure every food safety course is the best it can be.
Linda has been heavily involved with the coalition and served on the board to help make the decisions for the coalition so that food safety training would be consistent across the state. She has made sure its mission of providing food safety training to the state of Wyoming residents will continue for years to come. Linda’s first response to resolve a problem is to figure out how we can use food safety education to help solve the problem. She has always had the philosophy that if we can educate the food service workers upfront it makes for safer food. She has said most people that are not practicing good food safety practices are not doing so because they want to get someone sick, but rather because they do not know they are doing it incorrectly and no one has taught them the correct way to do it and have not taken the time to explain the WHY.
Linda has set the bar very high for the standard we all strive to meet in food safety education. I would like to thank Linda for her dedication and passion for food safety over the years. Linda’s hard work and dedication to food safety for all of Wyoming has paid off.