Robert J. Whitaker, Ph.D., President, Whitaker Consulting, LLC
In 2020, Dr. Bob Whitaker founded Whitaker Consulting to develop educational material and provide produce safety and technology consulting services to the fresh fruit and vegetable industries. From 2008 to early 2020, Bob served the Produce Marketing Association as its Chief Science & Technology Officer, responsible for product safety, technology, supply chain management, government affairs, and sustainability. Bob also served on the Center for Produce Safety board of directors and executive committee from its founding in 2007 until June 2020 and was the first chair of the CPS technical committee (2008-2013).
Before PMA, Bob spent 16 years in the agricultural biotechnology field with DNA Plant Technology Corporation as a researcher and finally as Vice President for Fruit and Vegetable Research and Development. After DNAP, Bob worked 10 years at NewStar Fresh Foods and its subsidiary, MissionStar Processing in produce safety, product development, and as Vice President of Process Operations. Bob’s work has been widely published in several disciplines including enzymology, plant tissue culture, microbiology, food safety, and technology.
Actively involved in produce association activities throughout his career, Bob served as a volunteer leader for several national and regional industry trade groups. Bob served on the board of directors for the International Fresh Processors Association (2002-2006) becoming the chair (2005-2006) and the board and executive committee of United Fresh from 2006-2008. Bob provided technical expertise through participation on the food safety and technical committees at IFPA (chair 2000-2004), United Fresh, LGMA (2007-2009), and the Salinas Valley Grower/Shipper Association (2005-2007). Bob has been honored by several groups for technical achievement and leadership including the International Fresh-cut Processors’ Association (IFPA) Technical Achievement Award (2006), USDA National Advisory Committee on Microbial Criteria for Foods committee member (2010-2012), NSF Food Safety Leadership (2015), CPS leadership (2015 and 2018), National Academies of Science Genetically Engineered Crops Review panel (2016) and the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement’s Golden Checkmark Award for Achievement (2019).
Bob holds a doctorate in biology from the State University of New York at Binghamton.