Meet Cynthia Decker, Ph.D.


Meet Cynthia Decker, Ph.D., our new staff microbiologist and Director of Food Safety. That’s right. We got a Ph.D.

Cindy came to us with a reputation as a balls-to-the-wall, no nonsense Listeria/microbe/pathogen hunter, and that’s precisely the work she’ll be doing in our production kitchen and bakery.

Part of a really tight safety program is looking for microbes where they hide. Looking for them constantly. Not just once a month, or every few months. And we’re going to find microbes because earth is full of them. And we use ingredients from earth first. That’s pretty rare in the ice cream business. So, after last year we stopped trying to be good at food safety and decided to work at becoming food safety experts. We started thinking of ourselves as a food safety company that also makes ice cream and encouraging other food entrepreneurs to think the same way.

Cindy, and our whole safety team wages battle each and every day against things like Listeria, E.coli, and other pathogens. These are not bad words, and we are not shy whatsoever of talking about them. They are an everyday part of making good food. In any kitchen or production facility you will find Listeria and other microbes if you look for them. And, by the way, I am not talking about swabbing your table surfaces like they do in an inspection. I’m talking about going deep into drains and in crevices and unknown little spots where these guys like to hide out. And they are tricky little devils, too. So, part of it is outwitting them. Which is Cindy’s forte. She’s got over 20 years experience in food safety and quality monitoring programs with a resume that includes time at Ross Laboratories, The Scotts Company, and Food Safety Net Services.

I am so incredibly thrilled to welcome her, and to learn from her.

What’s more, if you know Jeni’s, then you know our company is a community composed of a bunch of people who bring specific and deep talents to our table. One thing I can’t stand is a company filled with people who dress the same, look the same, and act the same. We go the other way. We ask our team to bring themselves and their talents to the table—we expect them to. We care more about the work, about doing what we say we can do. And it takes a lot of smart people to get us there.

I’m going to start posting now and then about some of these people who mostly work behind the scenes here. Because, it turns out, if you want to make really truly game-changing ice cream, you need game-changing safety, planning, allocation, finance, and logistics teams. That’s in addition to production, creative and so forth. When I was a young entrepreneur I would have loved that kind of behind-the-scenes look at a team and a company, and I think there might be people like me out there who agree.