Remembering Hank Giclas
August 09, 2022|
LGMA staff and industry members were saddened to hear of the recent passing of Hank Giclas, who played a pivotal role in advancing leafy greens food safety and creating the LGMA food safety program. Hank’s career included over 30 years at Western Growers from 1990 until his retirement in 2020.
2006 was a crossroads for leafy greens food safety. It was in the fall of that year when a nationwide outbreak of e. coli sickened consumers and was traced back to spinach grown in California. The industry’s response was a food safety program called the LGMA and Hank Giclas was immediately involved in developing this solution to protect consumers and keep the farming community – farming.
Hanks's initial role was to assist in designing the food safety standards that are used to produce over 50 billion servings of lettuce and leafy greens each year by Arizona and California farmers, but after that, he continued to help advance the standards to incorporate regular updates and improve as new data became available. He was also involved in food safety standards for other produce commodities and acted as a liaison between agricultural producers and FDA, USDA, CDC, and other industry associations.
“Hank was smart, hardworking, and committed to agriculture - a wonderful man who will be missed. I worked closely with him during the formation of the LGMA, as well as on the Stewardship Index, the California Roundtable on Agriculture and the Environment, and the Center for Produce Safety. He was truly dedicated to this industry and to food safety, he always went above and beyond and continued to work on special projects with us after his retirement.” - California LGMA CEO Tim York
“Hank was a very special kind of leader – one of the quiet ones, willing to toil behind the scenes doing the heavy lifting of bridging science, technical expertise, and policy objectives to bring people together with a focus on practical implementation for successful outcomes.” - California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross
“I will miss Hank’s friendship and his advice. Over the years he has been unsparing in his willingness to provide input to me and the LGMA staff. And he has been a true friend to the leafy greens community. He will be greatly missed.” - Past California LGMA Scott Horsfall on Hank Giclas' retirement in May of 2020.
“Our industry is immeasurably better for Hank’s vision and leadership. Few in our industry labored as long and hard as Hank to produce scientifically valid food safety guidance. For much of his career, he blazed that trail with little company along the way, but because of his perseverance, our industry today places food safety at the top of the agenda." - Dave Puglia, President and Chief Executive Officer of Western Growers reported by AndNowUKnow