IEH Academy

Environmental Monitoring & Sampling Plans

Course details

Self-Paced eLearning Course


2 hrs.

Cindy Ryan

Dr. Gene Bartholomew

This course is designed to illustrate the critical role environmental monitoring and sampling plans play in food and beverage processing. Content in this course is curated for those who are responsible for designing, updating, and implementing the elements of an environmental monitoring program in their facility or company. The lessons address the risks associated with microbes, and the requirements needed to appropriately mitigate potential hazards or exposure to contaminants. Give your personnel the knowledge needed to develop an approach to environmental monitoring and sampling plans.

Benefits and Learning Objectives

Protecting the consumer and your company depends on preventing pathogen contamination of foods during processing. Whether a raw commodity or a fully-cooked product, the presence of pathogens in the processing environment can lead to product adulteration and consumer/brand harm. This prevention of contamination needs to be verified by a comprehensive, well-designed environmental monitoring plan. This verification step is codified in USDA and FDA regulations and Global Food Safety Initiative schemes. This course will provide participants with the tools necessary to develop and implement a successful environmental monitoring program. 

  • Understand the importance of a robust environmental monitoring program
  • Gain insight into sampling techniques, where to sample and frequency of sampling, and target organisms and methods
  • Apply and implement corrective actions, documentation, and manage data
  • Promote knowledge base to conduct environmental testing that adds value to your food safety and quality plans.



Students will progress through a series of modules that address the following subject matters:

  1. Why Environmental Monitoring?
  2. Regulatory Requirements
  3. Hygienic Zone Assessments
  4. Site Selection and Zoning
  5. Environmental Sampling Procedures
  6. Corrective Actions

Who Should Take this Course?

The intended audience for this course includes:

  • Food Processors
  • Facility Maintenance
  • Production Managers
  • Quality Assurance Personnel
  • Food Safety Managers
  • Facility Managers
  • Sanitation

Course Instructors

Cindy Ryan

Associate Director, Technical Services - IEH Laboratories & Consulting Group

Cindy Ryan began her professional career at Nestle in 1994 as a Senior Microbiologist. Ms. Ryan earned her M.S. in Food Science and Food Microbiology and her B.S. in Animal Science and Industry from Kansas State University. During her eleven-year stay with Nestlé, she moved from Senior Microbiologist to Quality Assurance Manager, and finally to Senior Microbiologist and Manager of HACCP Systems. Ms. Ryan was in charge of the plant hygiene, auditing, troubleshooting, managing the QA department, quality training, implementation of quality systems, and pathogen monitoring across the U.S. and Canadian facilities. She also spearheaded troubleshooting and follow-up of problems involving packaging, processing quality, and microbiological issues, as well as assisting Nestlé corporate. Before joining the IEH consulting team, Ryan spent 9 years as an independent consultant assisting food manufacturing facilities to define, organize, correct, implement, maintain and validate required QA and Food Safety programs including HACCP, allergen control, and pathogen monitoring. Ryan enjoys working on a variety of projects, like assisting manufacturers in the areas of HACCP and Food Safety Plans, pathogen monitoring and control, and allergen control.

Dr. Gene Bartholomew

Vice President, Technical Services - IEH Laboratories & Consulting Group

Dr. Gene Bartholomew joined IEH as Vice President of Technical Services in 2019. He earned an M.S. and Ph.D. in microbiology from Cornell University and a B.S. in biology from Bucknell University. Dr. Bartholomew began his professional career at International Paper in 1983 as a research scientist. During his 15 years there, he commercialized and validated an aseptic packaging system, managed a beverage pilot plant and its laboratory, started taste panel testing for the company, and advanced to manage several products, and development groups. Dr. Bartholomew then joined Smithfield Foods Packaged Meats. He started in the John Morrell Group as the corporate director of food safety for 7 meat processing and slaughter facilities and 1 spice plant. He later took on the role of Senior Director of Corporate Food Safety, during which he was responsible for 14 meat processing plants and several FDA-regulated plants. Throughout his 20-year career at Smithfield, he led HACCP plan design and validation, thermal processing, regulatory compliance, sanitation, allergen control, and environmental pathogen monitoring. He also managed a corporate microbiology laboratory and its accreditation, has certifications in HACCP training, BRC, and SQF schemes, and is a Preventive Controls Qualified Individual. Dr. Bartholomew was a founding member of the North American Meat Institute Listeria Control Workshop and has taught numerous courses to members of the food industry.