Topco Names Mahipal Kunduru VP, Quality Assurance

Topco Associates, LLC announced today that Mahipal Kunduru, Ph.D. has joined the company as Vice President, Quality Assurance. In this role,Kunduru will be responsible for Topco’s Product Integrity, Regulatory Compliance and Quality Assurance groups. He will report directly to Topco President & CEO, Randy Skoda.

“Mahipal brings a wealth of knowledge in food safety, quality assurance, regulatory affairs and supply chain management that will benefit all our members,” said Skoda. “He has developed and implemented food safety and quality management programs for global industry leaders, and we are confident that under his leadership, Topco’s Quality Assurance programs will continue to drive a competitive advantage for our members, especially as new food safety and labeling regulations take effect.”

Most recently, Kunduru served as Senior Director of Quality Systems, U.S. Supply Chain Management for McDonald’s USA. In this role, Kunduru was responsible for the coordination of food safety and quality systems strategy, the oversight of scientific and regulatory affairs (FDA) and the management of supplier performance. Kunduru and his team lead a number of efforts at McDonald’s, including the Quality Systems Supplier Advisory Council, the Brand Trust Team of the National Supply Chain Leadership Council and Anticipatory Issues Management and Scientific Affairs for Supply Chain Management.

Prior to joining McDonald’s, Kunduru served in several leadership roles for Deloitte & Touche, Safeway and Dole in the development and implementation of food safety and quality management programs in diverse food production (produce, meat), food manufacturing (produce, dairy, meat and other ready-to-eat foods) and food retail industries. He worked on food safety intervention strategies and process optimization initiatives to address microbiological hazards in the food supply chain.

Kunduru serves on the Board of Directors of the Grocery Manufacturers Association Science and Education Foundation and is a professional member of the Institute of Food Technologists and International Association for Food Protection. Kunduru served two terms on the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods (NACMCF) from 2000 to 2004 and on the National Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee (FVIAC) from 2001 to 2003. He authored or co-authored several peer-reviewed scientific publications. Kunduru earned his Ph.D. degree in Food Science and Technology with a minor in Food Microbiology from Iowa State University.

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Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.