Thoughts for Food

Ola Afolayan
Ola Afolayan is a food safety scientist for Kellogg Company. Photo contributed

Born in Oyo, a historic city in southwest Nigeria, Olamide “Ola” Afolayan’s (MS – Food Science, ’09; Ph.D. – Food Science, ’14) ties to agriculture are rooted in culture and rich history. With grandparents who practiced subsistence farming, Afolayan’s parents grew up completing chores each morning before attending school. While they went on to academia, they farmed on a smaller scale.

“I still have fond memories of my mom and I working on her farm,” Afolayan said.

Today, Afolayan works as a food safety scientist at the Kellogg Company’s corporate headquarters in Battle Creek, Michigan. After checking lab results and food safety recalls, a typical day for Afolayan involves reviewing ongoing projects, recipes and ingredients for food safety risks and taking the appropriate measures to mitigate these risks. She is responsible for supporting product innovation, ensuring product safety and visiting manufacturing plants across the nation. She provides food safety support for different products.

“Every decision I make is critical and can impact major parts of our business processes. I have to pay keen attention to every detail while ensuring that I have all the information needed to make the best decision each time,” she said.

Afolayan finds reward in tackling her challenges.

“The most rewarding is when I see the products that I was actively involved with in stores all over the country because I know our customers will enjoy products that have passed through the highest quality and safety measures,” she said.

As a graduate of the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Afolayan said she would gladly return to CAES if she had to do it all again.

“CAES not only imparted me with an excellent food science and microbiology education, one that I consider the best in the country, but CAES also provided opportunities to interact with industry professionals by encouraging participation in national conferences and meetings,” Afolayan said.

During her time at CAES, Afolayan found inspiration through her professors and the way they encouraged thinking outside the box, a skill she says is highly sought after in the corporate world.

When given the opportunity to speak with high school students about careers in agriculture, Afolayan always encourages them to consider CAES for their education.

“As an international student, UGA was a place where I felt at home,” said Afolayan. 

By Samantha White