May 5, 2020

Meet the Team — Sarah Fader

Meet the TeamSarah Fader, Quality Assurance and Food Safety Manager

Sarah Fader is our resident food-safety expert. She’s the one who keeps everyone safe on the processing floor in the new Bucksport plant and is making sure we keep our promise to produce the highest quality products for our customers.

Daily Tasks:

Sarah starts her day by checking all quality control points, including regular checks of product, equipment, and processes to ensure safety and quality. She manages all lobster supplied to the processing plant from the moment it arrives, until the moment it leaves on our trucks. This includes:

  • Safety checks of the live lobsters,
  • Verification of cooler/freezer temperatures,
  • Monitoring of cooking temperatures/target internal temperatures
  • Ensuring quick cooling of the product

Additionally, all product is inspected multiple times a day for quality, including taste, texture and visual appeal.

She also manages the packaging and labeling process that ensures our customers have all the information they need to safely handle our products, including cooking and handling instructions, ‘use-by’ date, and potential allergens.

Pandemic Impact:

With the current COVID-19 pandemic, none of her responsibilities are more important than the standard sanitation procedures that are normally ‘business as usual’. Greenhead employees already were going above and beyond food safety requirements, but Sarah developed an even more robust “Pandemic Plan” that would allow us to continue to operate under the current Maine State mandate on a limited basis as an essential business.

In addition to the already strict regulations, she added new requirements including: social distancing on the processing line, dividers between workstations in the ready-to-eat room, and mandatory facemasks for all employees in the facility.

While she can’t control what people do outside the facility, she has asked each employee to sign a pledge confirming they have not travelled via public transport. She also asks that anyone showing any COVID symptoms do not report to work and immediately contact management.

Lastly, as an extra precaution, we added more employees to our night sanitation crew, and increased training for the full-time employee to consistently clean and disinfect all common surfaces throughout the day, rather than at regular intervals.

Food Safety Background:

Sarah reminds us that because of the nature of our products, we already had a very complex program both because we are processing seafood and shellfish, and because we are processing both ready-to-eat and raw lobster products. She says we would be surprised to learn we were already required employees to:

  • Wear boots that never leave the facility
  • Work in separate areas for ‘ready-to-eat’ products vs. the processing floor
  • Use dedicated entrances for each space with separate breakrooms
  • Follow strict protocols on interaction between employees in the different functional areas

She manages a robust employee training program to ensure adherence to the strict measures. In January, Sarah passed the top level of the SQF Food Safety Certification program, scoring 99 out of 100 for the evaluation.

Food Safety Tips:

With all her in-depth knowledge of the dangers of germs and pathogens, we couldn’t be luckier to have her in this challenging time. I asked for her advice on rules she follows for food safety in general, and she had a surprisingly simple answer. Stay away from these 3 things:

  1. Don’t eat raw oysters unless they are HPP (our lobster process)
  2. Don’t eat uncooked cake batter (not just because of the raw eggs, but the flour too)
  3. Don’t eat communal bar nuts

Sarah’s Background

Sarah has the perfect background for this job. She got a Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Biology at Maine Maritime Academy in Castine, and a Master’s in Food Science from the University of Maine at Orono where she completed a thesis in product development and shelf life evaluation for a seaweed product, seaweed sauerkraut. After school, she entered the lobster industry, and worked on several lobster value-added products, such as, lobster mac and cheese and lobster grilled cheese at Hancock Gourmet Lobster Company in Topsham.

Sarah is originally from Vermont, and her first job was serving ‘creemees’ (what local Vermonters call ice cream cones) in the summer. She has been in food from the beginning, and is truly passionate about what she does and how she does it.

She moved to Maine for school and she hasn’t left. She came to Greenhead from Hancock because she loves the Bucksport area, and was drawn to the family-run atmosphere from the small town of Stonington.

Many thanks to Sarah for all her hard work, particularly during the COVID-19 challenges. We are lucky to have you.

***Please take a moment to consider signing our petition to take the ‘achoo’ out of Massachusetts. It might help us make ‘summah’ happen with our annual tourists from Massetts.