food safety & quality consultants, founder's story, arlen keller

Early Beginnings . . .

The journey to starting Food Safety & Quality Consultants, LLC (FSQC) started over forty years ago in the 1970s. As a teen in the mid-1970s, FSQC founder and president Arlen Keller started working at Central Coca-Cola Bottling Co., which kicked off his career in food safety and quality. In 1977, he was hired on as a full-time employee at the bottling company and during the following 9 years, he acted as a Quality Control Supervisor and Assistant Production Manager for the company.

Food Safety & Quality Consultants Founder Arlen Keller

While operating in those roles, Arlen was responsible for Food Safety and Quality activities at the manufacturing facility, assisting with Food Safety and Quality issues at multiple facilities, designing and implementing Food Safety and Quality programs and Sanitation Procedures, as well as developing and conducting Food Safety and Quality training. The facility Arlen managed placed 3rd for Quality Achievements out of over 500 Coca-Cola Bottling facilities in the USA in 1983.

In 1986, he then moved on to further his career at Cadbury USA as a Quality Assurance Technician. While at Cadbury, Arlen conducted Internal Quality and Sanitation Audits, monitored and enforced compliance with Food Safety and Quality standards, conducted chemical and microbiological analyses, and managed a packaging laboratory, among other various responsibilities. Arlen’s time with Cadbury only lasted until 1989, when Cadbury USA sold production rights to The Hershey Company.

In that same year, Arlen started his career at The Hershey Company, a recognized Fortune 500 company. He spent the next twenty-three years with Hershey gaining experience and training that are vital to his role in the food industry. During his time at Hershey, Arlen gained an extensive amount of training, experience, and knowledge in the field of food packaging, manufacturing, and distribution.

Arlen had multiple responsibilities while working at The Hershey Company. He was responsible for overseeing the GFSI certification of Hershey’s manufacturing facilities; he managed and conducted Food Safety and Quality audits of manufacturing facilities as well as ingredient and packaging suppliers; he was responsible for Packaging and Regulatory Compliance for North American operations; he provided Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP), quality systems, and regulatory support to 19 manufacturing facilities; he developed and implemented Food Safety and Quality programs, systems, policies, and procedures; and he developed and conducted Food Safety, Quality, and Packaging training.

The Start of FSQC . . .

While working for this Fortune 500 company and being responsible for practices such as internal auditing programs, food safety certification programs, and packaging quality programs for North America, Arlen noticed a gap in the food safety certification industry. Hershey was certifying their own production facilities, and many suppliers and other companies associated with Hershey were finding it difficult to navigate the waters of certification and were asking how they did it so well. Arlen realized that he could help bridge the gap in the field of food safety and quality certification. The need in the industry was simple – companies were in search of help for complying with new regulations and preparing for compliance with new certification standards.

So, in November 2011, Food Safety & Quality Consultants was founded to meet the growing needs and ever-expanding demands of the food and beverage industry. In early 2012 Arlen began utilizing his 35 years of food safety and quality experience to pilot his business by offering companies private consulting services, auditing through third-party food safety certification organizations, and extensive training services. Arlen left his career at Hershey to run FSQC full-time and has worked with many companies providing consulting, training, and auditing services. He has successfully walked many clients through the certification process. In fact, every company that has worked with FSQC has successfully achieved its GFSI certification, the majority of which have scored in the top tier.

The Future of FSQC . . .

Arlen’s greatest passion for the future of his business is training and educating companies on current regulations and proper food safety and quality practices.

“The achievement I look at is the success my clients are having. To me that’s my milestone and bench mark.”

Arlen Keller
President, Food Safety & Quality Consultants, LLC.