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Stop Foodborne Illness

Our Beginnings: In 1992, most of us had no idea what E. coli was, let alone the kind of havoc it was capable of unleashing.

Unfortunately, in 1993 we learned all too well. Out of the collective grief and anger of individuals, whose children and families were unmercifully caught in what would come to be known as the West Coast E. coli Outbreak, Stop Foodborne Illness formed under the name Safe Tables Our Priority (STOP).

Heartbroken mothers, fathers, siblings, children, and others were propelled by love, confusion, and anger — they knew they had to raise a voice that America would hear.

They wanted answers. They wanted change.  But above all, they wanted to prevent anything like this from happening again.

Today, Stop Foodborne Illness is the voice for all who want to turn awareness into action. We advocate to regulate food handling and processing from farm to table. We partner with Congress, the USDA, the FDA, the CDC, and other relevant agencies and organizations to mitigate food safety risks through policy and legislation.

We offer peer-to-peer mentoring for survivors and families of victims across the country. We empower others to become food safety advocates themselves by providing opportunities to share their stories

Since Stop Foodborne Illness was founded, we have been instrumental in passing food safety laws including the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). 

As the voice of people affected by foodborne illness, we collaborate with partners in academia, the food industry, and government to prevent foodborne illness. We advocate for effective food safety policy and facilitate culture change to increase food safety.

Recent Media Coverage


Morning Show March 3, 2022 Dr. Vanessa Coffman, the director of the Alliance to Stop Foodborne Illness, joined the Morning Show crew to continue the morning health discussion. 

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Mitzi Baum

Mitzi Baum joined the team at Stop Foodborne Illness as the Chief Executive Officer in May 2019.  She is motivated by the mission to create a new strategy for Stop and its constituency that will drive change through advocacy, collaboration and innovation.

Prior to beginning her tenure at Stop, Mitzi cultivated a 23-year career at Feeding America beginning as a network services representative rising to the senior level position of managing director of food safety. 

As managing director of food safety, Mitzi guided the continued development of food safety initiatives including development and execution of the food safety strategic plan; oversight of third-party food safety audit program; food safety educational summits; development of food safety resources; and coordination with donors and regulatory agencies to support food donations.  

Before Feeding America, Mitzi managed restaurants for the Peasant Restaurant Co. in Atlanta, Funky’s Restaurants in Cincinnati, and Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises in Chicago.

Mitzi holds a Master of Science in Food Safety and a certificate in Food Law from Michigan State University. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH.

She has earned certificates in Non-Profit Management from the University of Chicago, Quality Management from DePaul University and Food Safety Management from Cornell University. 

She is a certified seafood HACCP instructor and is a certified PCQI. Mitzi is a member of the International Association of Food Protection, the Conference for Food Protection and the Association of Food and Drug Officials.

Vanessa Coffman

With a diverse background in food safety and sustainability, Dr. Vanessa Coffman brings a strong focus on environmental exposures across the food system.

She received her PhD in Environmental Epidemiology from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a MS from The University of California, Berkeley in Global Public Health and the Environment.

Vanessa has previously worked at STOP as a policy analyst. Since then, she has conducted research for the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization in Sierra Leone (West Africa) examining opportunities and roadblocks to farming in a post-war setting. Additionally, she has done extensive research on occupational and residential exposures from large pork production operations in rural North Carolina, and conducted research based in Denmark examining the association between nitrate in drinking water (largely from food animal operations) and fetal health outcomes.

Dr. Coffman has testified in front of U.S. government officials and has co-authored peer-reviewed papers and helped draft federal regulations.

In her spare time, Vanessa fosters dogs and enjoys travelling with her husband, and trying new foods. And, on slow days, bothering Stanley.