Robert Whitaker received his PhD in biology from the State University of New York at Binghamton in 1982. On graduating, he joined DNA Plant Technology Corporation as a postdoctoral research scientist and eventually served as both vice president for vegetable research and development and vice president for product development for the company. During his tenure there, Dr. Whitaker had responsibility for plant tissue culture, breeding, food science, chemistry, and genetic-engineering functions related to vegetable products. In 1998, he joined NewStar as vice president of product development and quality; there, he developed corporate food safety programs and spearheaded product-development activities. In April 2008, he became the chief science and technology officer of the Produce Marketing Association, overseeing food safety and technology efforts from field to fork. He has served as a volunteer leader for the United Fresh Produce Association and as chairman of the International Fresh-cut Produce Association (IFPA) board and has been directly involved on a number of industry and government food safety and technology initiatives. In 2006, Dr. Whitaker was awarded IFPA’s Technical Achievement Award for his work in food safety and product development. He also received NSF Food Safety Leadership award in 2015. Bob was named to the Executive Committee for the Center for Produce Safety (CPS) in 2007 and served as chairman of the CPS Technical Committee until 2013. He still serves as a member of the CPS Technical Committee, which oversees the solicitation and awarding of funds for produce food safety research and on the Executive Committee of the CPS Board of Directors.

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