Note: Posters will be on display Monday–Wednesday in the Ft. Mchenry Room.
Moderators: Jan Leach, Chair, APS Public Policy Board; Colorado State University and Mike Mahovic, Consumer Safety Officer, FDA CFSAN WelcomeKeynote Presentations:Policy IssuesDr. Samir Assar, Director, Produce Safety Staff, FDA CFSANIndustry Perspective Bob Whitaker, Chief Science Officer, Produce Marketing AssociationPlant Pathologist PerspectiveJacque Fletcher, Director, National Institute for Microbial Forensics & Food and Agricultural Biosecurity, Oklahoma State UniversityFood Scientist PerspectiveMike Doyle, Director, Center for Food Safety, University of Georgia
Theme B, Theme Leader: Sally MillerDissemination Mechanisms Elizabeth Bihn, Senior Extension Associate, Department of Food Science, Cornell University Water, humans, animals and insects, field sanitation
Theme C, Theme Leader: John FrenchHuman–Pathogenic Viruses on Plants Kalmia Kniel-Tolbert, Associate Professor, Food Parasitology and Virology, Dept. of Animal and Food Science, University of Delaware Noro– like viruses, hepatitis B, virus– plant interactions
Dr. Samir AssarDirector, Produce Safety Staff, Food and Drug Administration, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, College Park, MDIn Dr. Assar’s role as director of the produce safety staff, he is responsible for managing the development of policy, regulations, and guidance related to produce safety. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in food science with an emphasis in microbiology from the University of Florida. Dr. Assar has worked collaboratively with state and local agencies in cooperation with private industry to conduct numerous assessments of produce farms and packing houses in Virginia, Florida, and California. He has also provided technical assistance during fresh-cut produce facility inspections and produce-related outbreak investigations. Dr. Assar currently serves as the FDA project officer for the recently established Western Center for Food Safety at the University of California at Davis, which was formed to conduct research, education, and outreach addressing issues that interface production agriculture and food safety.
Dr. Robert J. WhitakerChief Science Officer, Produce Marketing AssociationDr. Whitaker received his Ph.D. degree in biology from the State University of New York at Binghamton in 1982, and then he joined DNA Plant Technology Corporation (DNAP) to investigate the use of biotechnology to develop new plant varieties. During his 16-year tenure with DNAP, he served as both vice president for Vegetable Research and Development and Vice President of Product Development. In 1998, Dr. Whitaker joined NewStar as Vice President of Product Development and Quality. At NewStar, he became president of MissionStar Processing in 2006 and vice president of Innovation and Food Safety in 2007. In April 2008, Dr. Whitaker became the Chief Science Officer of the Produce Marketing Association (PMA), where he is responsible for food safety and security, environmental sustainability, and technical innovations for the produce supply chain, from field to fork. Dr. Whitaker has served as a volunteer leader for the United Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Association’s Production & Quality Assurance Council, as chair of the International Fresh-cut Processors Association (IFPA) Technical Committee, and as Chairman of the Board for IFPA, a role in which he helped guide the 2006 merger of IFPA and United. In 2006, Dr. Whitaker was awarded IFPA’s Technical Achievement Award for his work in food safety and product development. Dr. Whitaker has been intimately involved in the development of the leafy greens Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) metrics and also serves on both the California and Arizona Leafy Greens Technical Committees. Dr. Whitaker was named to the Executive Advisory Board for the Center for Produce Safety (CPS) in 2007 and has taken on the role of chair for the CPS Research and Technology Council (2008) which oversees the solicitation and awarding of funds for research projects focused on produce food safety.
Dr. Jacqueline FletcherRegents Professor, Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OKDr. Fletcher received her B.S. degree in biology from Emory University, her M.S. degree in botany from the University of Montana, and her Ph.D. degree in plant pathology from Texas A&M. At Oklahoma State University, Dr. Fletcher’s research focuses on mechanisms of virulence and insect transmission of plant-pathogenic bacteria; the relationships between human pathogens, such as Escherichia coli, and plants; and the emerging disciplines of microbial forensics and agricultural biosecurity. Currently, she serves as director of the National Institute for Microbial Forensics & Food and Agricultural Biosecurity, a multidisciplinary OSU initiative that addresses high-priority national issues in plant pathogen forensics, crop biosecurity and food safety. Dr. Fletcher served on APS’s Council for 10 years, including the 4-year presidential sequence. In the months following September 11, 2001, Dr. Fletcher led APS’s responses and input to national biosecurity initiatives. She organized and now serves as director of both the APS Microbial Forensics Working Group and the APS Food Safety Working Group. She is a member of the Institute of Medicine’s Forum on Microbial Threats at the National Academy of Sciences, and serves on several federal biosecurity advisory panels. She was named a fellow of APS in 2005 and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2007.
Dr. Michael P. DoyleRegents Professor of Food Microbiology and Director of the Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia, Griffin, GADr. Doyle is an active researcher in the area of food safety and security and works closely with the food industry, government agencies, and consumer groups on issues related to the microbiological safety of foods. He serves on food safety committees of many scientific organizations and has served as a scientific advisor to many groups, including the World Health Organization, the Institute of Medicine, the National Academy of Science-National Research Council, the International Life Sciences Institute-North America, the Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the International Association for Food Protection, and the Institute of Food Technologists, and he is a member of the National Academies Institute of Medicine.
Dr. Maria BrandlResearch Microbiologist, Produce Safety and Microbiology, Western Regional Research Center, Albany, CADr. Brandl received her B.S. degree in plant science at McGill University in Canada and her Ph.D. in plant pathology at the University of California at Berkeley where she studied the interaction of epiphytic bacteria with plants. She joined the USDA/ARS in Albany, California, in 1999. She is the lead scientist of the Human Pathogen-Plant Interactions Project in the Produce Safety and Microbiology Research Unit where she investigates the ecology of foodborne pathogens in the plant environment. More specifically, her studies focus on the biotic and abiotic factors that affect the growth and survival of Salmonella enterica and E. coli O157:H7 in the phyllosphere of vegetable crops implicated in outbreaks of foodborne illness.
Dr. Elizabeth A. BihnSenior Extension Associate, Department of Food Science, Cornell University, Geneva, NY Dr. Bihn received her B.S. degree in zoology from the Ohio State University, M.S. degree in horticulture from the University of Florida, and Ph.D. degree in food science from Cornell University. Since 1999, she has been the program coordinator for the National Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) Program. The goal of the National GAPs Program is to reduce microbial risks to fresh fruits and vegetables through a comprehensive education and extension program for growers and farm workers. Dr. Bihn is also the project director for the new Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) created to assist growers with GAPs understanding and implementation prior to the release of the FDA produce safety regulation. Dr. Bihn writes extension publications used by fresh produce growers to develop farm food safety plans and implement food safety practices. Her current projects include the GAPs Online Produce Safety Course offered through the National GAPs Program to provide access to training for growers in rural locations who may not be able to attend in-person trainings. Dr. Bihn also has been an instructor for GAPs training programs conducted by the Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition and has presented many extension talks and workshops throughout the United States and internationally.
Dr. Kalmia E. Kniel-TolbertAssociate Professor, Food Parasitology and Virology, Dept. of Animal and Food Science, University of Delaware, Newark, DEDr. Kniel-Tolbert received her B.S. degree in biology (with a Minor in Sociology), her M.S. degree in molecular cell biology and her Ph.D. degree in food microbiology, all from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University , Blacksburg . Currently on the faculty in the Department of Animal and Food Science at the University of Delaware, she teaches several courses on food safety and illness outbreak investigation. Her research has focused on food and waterborne protozoa and viruses and use of non-thermal methods to inactivate these organisms on fresh produce. Dr. Kniel-Tolbert is active in professional associations, with memberships in the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP), the Capital Area Food Protection Association, the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), the Southeastern Society of Parasitologists (SSP), the American Society of Parasitologists (ASP) , and the American Association for Veterinary Parasitologists (AAVP).
Dr. Robert V. TauxeDeputy Director, Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GADr. Tauxe received his medical degree from Vanderbilt in 1980, and a master’s degree in public health from Yale. He is board certified in internal medicine, trained at the CDC in the Epidemic Intelligence Service, and joined the CDC as a staff epidemiologist in 1985. Dr. Tauxe’s research includes epidemiology of bacterial enteric diseases, bacterial genetic exchange, resistance to antimicrobial agents, and new applications of epidemiologic methods. At the CDC, Dr. Tauxe is director of the Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases, which is responsible for monitoring these infections in the United States and investigating outbreaks, developing strategies to reduce their burden.
Dr. Robert L. BuchananProfessor and Director, Center for Food Safety and Security Systems, University of Maryland, College Park, MDDr. Buchanan received his B.S., M.S. M.Phil, and Ph.D. degrees in food science from Rutgers University, and his post-doctoral training in mycotoxicology at the University of Georgia. Since then, he has 30 years of experience teaching, conducting research in food safety, and working at the interface between science and public health policy, first in academia, then in government service in both USDA and FDA, and most recently at the University of Maryland. His scientific interests are diverse, and include extensive experience in predictive microbiology, quantitative microbial risk assessment, microbial physiology, mycotoxicology, and HACCP systems. He has published extensively on a wide range of subjects related to food safety, and is one of the co-developers of the widely used USDA Pathogen Modeling Program. Dr. Buchanan has served on numerous national and international advisory bodies including serving as a member of the International Commission on Microbiological Specification for Foods for 20 years, as a six-term member of the National Advisory Committee for Microbiological Criteria for Foods, and as the U.S. delegate to the Codex Alimentarius Committee on Food Hygiene for 10 years.
Mr. Thomas S. HammackSupervisory Research Microbiologist, Division of Microbiological Studies, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, FDA, Silver Spring, MDMr. Hammack has worked as a research microbiologist for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since 1990 and is a co-author of FDA’s Bacteriological Analytical Manual’s (BAM) Salmonella and Food Sampling and Preparation of Sample Homogenate chapters. In addition to his role as a BAM chapter author, he serves as the chair of the BAM Council. His research has been concentrated on the development and validation of cultural methods for the detection and isolation of Salmonella from foods. Over the last 10 years, the emphasis of his research has been fruits and vegetables. In addition to his work in the lab, Mr. Hammack has an interest in food microbiology methods validation. Since 2004, he has served as a general referee for food microbiology for AOAC International. In that capacity, he has overseen the validation of numerous microbiological methods for bacterial pathogens, such as Salmonella, Listeria, and E. coli O157:H7 through AOAC International’s two methods validation programs: the Official Methods of Analysis and Research Institute Performance Tested Methods Programs. AOAC validated methods are used by FDA and commercial laboratories for the detection of pathogens in foods. In 2009, he became chief of the Microbial Methods Development Branch of CFSAN’s Division of Microbiology. He received his BS and MS degrees from the University of Maryland at College Park.
Dr. Craig HedburgProfessor, Division of Environmental Health Sciences, University of Minnesota School of Public Health, Minneapolis, MN Dr. Hedburg received his B.S. degree in biology at the University of Connecticut, his M.S. degree in environmental health at the University of Minnesota, and his Ph.D. degree in epidemiology, also at the University of Minnesota. He served as supervisor for the Foodborne, Vectorborne and Zoonotic Diseases Unit at the Minnesota Department of Health from 1985 to 1999, when he joined the faculty at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Hedburg’s research interests include food borne disease surveillance, surveillance of environmental factors associated with foodborne disease, the role of food workers in the occurrence of food borne diseases, use of epidemiologic methods in outbreak investigations and disease control, and environmental contamination with enteric pathogens. He received the 1999 Food and Drug Administration Group Recognition Award for or outstanding efforts in the coordination and investigation of a multistate foodborne illness outbreak of Salmonella agona in toasted oat cereal, and the 1995 Harvey W. Wiley Medal, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner's Special Citation for outstanding work in the early identification and reporting of a U.S.- wide outbreak of salmonellosis due to contaminated ice cream. Other recognitions include the 1991 Charles C. Shepard Science Award from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the 1989 Minnesota Environmental Health Association Merit Award.
Dr. Trevor V. SuslowExtension Research Specialist, Department of Plant Sciences, University of California, Davis, CADr. Suslow received his B.S. degree in agricultural sciences, and both his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in plant pathology, all from the University of California at Berkeley. In his current role as extension research specialist at the University of California, Davis, he has statewide responsibilities in the quality and safety of perishable horticultural commodities. Dr. Suslow’s program involves preharvest and postharvest research and outreach education on diverse fresh and fresh-cut horticultural foods. His emphasis is microbial safety and disinfection within the pre-harvest and postharvest environment and postharvest pathology. Other interests include biological control and other biologically mediated controls of postharvest diseases and pathogens of human food safety concern. Dr. Suslow has served on many state and national boards and committees, having been appointed to the Center for Produce Safety Advisory Board, the Center for Produce Safety Technical Committee, the American Phytopathological Society’s Public Policy Board, the Binational Agricultural Research and Development (BARD) Fund Grant Plant Panel on Postharvest, Food Safety, and Food Security, the IFT Task Order 2-FDA Risk Model Produce: Pathogen Pairing Panel, and the USDA AFRI Food Safety RFP Review Panel.
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