Troop Leader Ensures Food Safety In and Out of Scouting

Photo: USDA's FSIS
Photo: USDA’s FSIS

Who better to teach Scouts about food safety than a leader who inspects food processing plants for a living? That’s exactly the caliber of training troop leader Steven Soderborg, Jr., offers his Scouts as they traverse the outdoors and the necessity of keeping food safe to eat during campouts.

Now, Soderborg is being recognized in the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) Faces of Food Safety profile. He was selected from around 10,000 employees for his hard work in preventing food-related hospitalizations and deaths in the United States and abroad.

“Steven currently inspects 12 food processing plants and nine export warehouses,” Katherine Scheidt, Public Affairs Specialist of the USDA’s FSIS, said. “In his free time, he teaches food safety to his Boy Scouts, emphasizing the importance of properly storing, cleaning, and preparing food both indoors and outdoors.”

Scouting and Food Safety

Along with having an advantage when it comes to earning the Cooking merit badge (which tasks Scouts with proper food preparation and sanitation), Soderborg’s troop also inspires him in his career.

In his Faces of Food Safety profile, Soderborg explains, “Each day when I’m in the plants conducting pre-operation checks on equipment and making sure everything is clean and ready to go, I think of one of my Scouts.” This Scout has a serious food allergy and required a specific kind of bread at a campout.

“If he ate anything that had come in to contact with the allergen, even a microscopic amount, it would have been terrible for him,” Soderborg said. “I always keep that Scout in mind because I don’t wish for him or anybody else who may have allergies to get sick because establishments’ machines weren’t cleaned properly when their products were produced.”

Soderborg’s attention to detail when it comes to food safety set a recall in motion for a product that failed to list the known allergen soy on its label.

His Scouts also heed to safety protocol when packing perishables for extended outings.

“I teach food safety to my Scouts, especially during camping trips where we have to keep meats, eggs, milk, juices, etc., iced (cooled) down,” Soderborg said.

Learn more about how Soderborg is working to prevent foodborne illness at work and with Scouts by heading to the USDA’s FSIS Faces of Food Safety profile.

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This blog is managed and written by staff of the Communications Department of the Boy Scouts of America.