Meet Our Consultants

Dr. Donald L. Zink
President, Foods & Regulatory Compliance Division

Dr. Donald Zink leads the food safety and food processing consulting group of IEH Laboratories and Consulting Group. Dr. Zink received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Biophysics from Texas A&M University, his M.S. in Microbiology from Texas A&M University, and his B.S. from Abilene Christian University. Prior to working at IEH, Dr. Zink worked for the U.S. FDA as the Chief Scientist for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. At IEH, he is most interested in helping clients avoid food contamination, particularly with bacterial pathogens such as Listeria and Salmonella, as well as other microbiological pathogens. Dr. Zink assists clients with broader issues related to food safety such as process validation, allergen control, and chemical contamination. Areas of particular expertise in the microbiological and chemical safety of processed foods and fresh produce and in-depth experience are low acid canned food thermal processing, aseptic processing, ice cream production, chocolate and confectionery products, infant formula production, beverage production (coffee, tea and juices and wine), fermented and acidified foods, frozen food production, refrigerated food production and baked goods production.

Dr. Scott Brooks
Senior Vice President, Division of Foods & Regulatory Compliance

Dr. Scott Brooks is the Senior Vice President for the Division of Foods and Regulatory Compliance for IEH Laboratories & Consulting Group, providing food safety, quality, scientific and regulatory affairs consulting services for the food and beverage industry. Dr. Brooks earned his Ph.D. in Veterinary Medicine from Texas A&M, his M.S. in Food Science and his M.S. in Preventive Veterinary Medicine from UC Davis, and a B.S. in Biomedical Science from Texas A&M. He is the former Senior Vice President, Quality, Food Safety, Scientific and Regulatory Affairs for Kraft Foods. Scott joined Kraft from PepsiCo, where he held the position of Vice President. Dr. Brooks was appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture to serve two terms on the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods and is Board Certified in Veterinary Preventive Medicine. He also serves on the Executive Board of the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine (ACVPM) in the role of Past President. Lastly, Scott Brooks is also a Certified Professional – Food Safety by the National Environmental Health Association and an expert in application of the FDA’s Model Food Code for retail and food service.

Dr. John Larkin
Vice President, Food Process Engineering & Food Defense

John Larkin has served as the IEH Vice President of Food Process Engineering & Food Defense since 2017. Dr. Larkin earned his dual Ph.D in Agricultural Engineering and Food Science & Technology from Michigan State University, his M.S. in Food Science and Nutrition from Ohio State University, and his B.S. in Food Science and Nutrition from Ohio State University. After receiving a dual Ph.D., Larkin worked as an Assistant Professor in Food Engineering at Virginia Tech before joining the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). During the course of his 27-year tenure with the FDA, John was intimately involved in conducting research pertaining to shelf-stable and extended shelf-life foods. John’s areas of expertise include knowledge of the Food and Drug Administration food safety regulatory requirements; process control software validation; microbial destruction kinetics; process validation, including canned and aseptically processed foods, pasteurized eggs, nuts, milk, apples, etc. John has a strong understanding of many processing technologies used to treat and extend the shelf-life of food including: thermal treatments, high pressure processing, ozone, propylene oxide, pulsed electric field, and others. Each and every project in which he has participated has its own unique attributes and Larkin enjoys employing his lifelong enthusiasm for research and working with people to find solutions to difficult situations and problems.

Dr. Margaret Hardin
Vice President, Technical Services

Margaret Hardin is the Vice President of Technical Services for IEH, focusing on food safety, food shelf-life, sanitation, sanitary design, food microbiology, process control, process validation, environmental testing, and HACCP. Dr. Hardin earned her Ph.D in Food Microbiology from Texas A&M, her M.S. in Meat Science & Food Microbiology from the University of Georgia, a B.S. in Agricultural Education from North Carolina State University, and a B.S. in Animal Science- Meats from the University of Florida. Before joining IEH, Margaret was an Associate Professor in Food Microbiology at Texas A&M University, where she taught courses in Food Microbiology and HACCP, and developed and taught a class in Applied Microbiology, Sanitation and Sanitary Design. Prior to her career in academia she was employed for over 13 years in various positions in the meat industry, including Director of Food Safety with Sara Lee Foods, Director of Food Safety with Smithfield, and Director of Food Safety and Quality Assurance with Boar’s Head. She also worked as Director of Pork Safety with the National Pork Producers Council and as a research scientist and HACCP instructor with the National Food Processors Association.

Dr. Mohammad Koohmaraie
CEO, Meat Division

Dr. Koohmaraie joined IEH as the Chief Executive Officer of the Meat Division in April, 2008. He received his Ph.D in Meat Science and Muscular Biology from Oregon State University, his M.S. in Meat Science from Texas A&M at Kingsville, and his B.S. in Animal Science from Pahlavi University. Throughout his career, Dr. Koohmaraie has focused his research efforts on the biological mechanisms regulating meat tenderness. Starting with the outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 in the Northwest, Dr. Koohmaraie has been heavily involved in leading and conducting research projects to help the meat industry reduce/eliminate E. coli O157:H7 from the red meat supply. After 24 years as a USDA scientist, Dr. Koohmaraie left the public sector to pursue his passion in the area of beef safety and quality in private sector. Throughout his impressive career Dr. Koohmaraie has received numerous awards such as the Agricultural Research Service’s Scientist of the Year Award in 1992 and 2001, the Agricultural Research Service’s technology transfer awards in 2004 and 2008, and the USDA Secretary Award in 1995 and 2001. In 2012, Dr. Koohmaraie was inducted of the Meat Industry Hall of Fame. Dr. Koohmaraie has published over 400 scientific publications and has given over 300 invited talks to U.S. and International Organizations. Dr. Koohmaraie is an ISI Highly Cited Scientist.

Dr. Dilip Chandarana
Vice President, Process Engineering at IEH Center for Food and Pharmaceutical Process Safety

Dr. Dilip Chandarana joined IEH as the Vice President of Process Engineering in 2005. Dr. Chandarana earned his Ph.D and M.S. in Food Engineering from the University of Maryland, and a Bachelor of Technology in Agricultural Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur. He specializes in, Food Engineering, Heat Transfer Thermal and Aseptic Processing, Aseptic Packaging, Regulatory Compliance and Microbial Spoilage Diagnosis. At the National Food Protection Agency (NFPA), Dr. Chandarana developed research programs in the area of aseptic processing and packaging of foods containing particles and was instrumental in developing the first successful process filing for such foods. He was the NFPA’s leader for high temperature rheology research where he developed the NFPA’s New Technologies research program. Chandarana also has extensive experience in testing a variety of aseptic processing and packaging systems, process designs, deviation handling, and spoilage investigations and diagnosis. Finally, Chandarana taught several Better Process Controls Schools, Thermal Processing and Deviation Workshops and Aseptic Processing and Packaging Workshops while at NFPA.

William C. Daniels
President, Produce Division

Will Daniels is President of the Produce Division at IEH Laboratories and Consulting Group. Mr. Daniels received his B.S. in Nutrition Sciences from the California Polytechnic State University. In his positions at IEH, Mr. Daniels is responsible for lab and consulting services for the produce industry. Prior to joining IEH, Daniels was President and CEO of Fresh Integrity Group, Inc.; a consulting firm specializing in operations and food safety consulting for the fresh produce and perishables industries. Having leadership roles in both Quality Assurance and Operations, he helped the company grow from a small, regional salad producer to the nation’s largest grower, packer and shipper of organic produce. Mr. Daniels also worked as Earthbound Farm’s Chief Food Integrity Officer, where he was responsible for food safety, food quality and the company’s organic integrity program. Mr. Daniels is a sought-after speaker and has addressed key issues in food safety in the produce industry at meetings of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Restaurant Association, the Institute of Food Technologists, and the International Association for Food Protection.

Dr. Samuel P. Myoda
Senior Vice President, Technical Services

Dr. Samuel P. Myoda is the CEO of the IEH Product division. Dr. Myoda earned his Ph.D. in Civil & Environmental Engineering and his B.S. in Environmental Science/Biology from the University of Delaware. Dr. Myoda is well-versed in federal and state laws, rules, regulations, and policies. Dr. Myoda is considered to be a leading expert in the fields of microbial source tracking (MST) and water quality. Prior to joining IEH in June 2007, Dr. Myoda was employed by the State of Delaware, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC), Division of Water Resources where he was the 2006 Employee of the Year. His responsibilities at DNREC included, but were not limited to, creator and Director of the Molecular Biology Laboratory, research, method development, computer modeling (water quality, hydrodynamic, etc.), risk assessments, water and wastewater treatment, environmental monitoring, and regulatory and compliance issues (TMDLs, water quality standards, permits (CSO, NPDES,CAFO, MS4, etc.).

Dr. Robert Miksch
Sr. Vice President, Technical Services

Robert Miksch is one of the most senior members at IEH, having been with the company since 2001. Dr. Miksch received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Washington and his B.S. in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley. He is currently the Sr. Vice President of Technical Services and an integral part of our team. He has authored, audited, validated and verified HACCP plans; assisted clients in responding to regulatory notifications including Noncompliance Records, Notices of Intended Enforcement (NOIE) actions, and Notices of Suspension (NOS); designed and implemented microbial intervention validation studies. Prior to joining IEH Dr. Miksch was a practicing Certified Industrial Hygienist with more than 20 years of experience in a broad range of private, government and academic environments. He founded and ran a successful multi-employee practice covering chemical and biological hazards in a wide range of settings. A key practice area was authoring pragmatic enterprise scale OSHA Process Safety Management/EPA Risk Management plans for food processor ammonia refrigeration systems.

Dr. Sergio Sanchez
Vice President, Analytical Services

Dr. Sergio Sanchez is the IEH Vice President of Analytical Services.Dr. Sanchez is a chemist with 28 years of experience in the areas of laboratory analytical testing, product inspection and audits. Dr. Sanchez received his Ph.D in Chemistry from the University of Puerto Rico. Prior to joining IEH, Dr. Sanchez launched and managed the global food safety business line for the British Standards Institute’s BSI Inspectorate (company that later became Inspectorate and that was acquired by the Bureau Veritas Group in 2010). His work included the design, installation, method development, accreditation, technical support and operational management of a global network of food testing laboratories and GFSI audit services. Dr. Sanchez has also served as technical liaison to government agencies in charge of food safety regulations in Asia, Latin America, the European Union and the US, including active participation in the FDA’s Shrimp Pilot Program.

Jack Davis
Director of Technical Services

Dr. Jack Davis is Director of Technical Services for JLA International, a multi-lab organization within the IEH network. Dr. Davis received his Ph.D and M.S. in Food Science from North Carolina University and his B.S.A in Food Science from the University of Georgia, Athens. Jack has worked extensively on many aspects of pre-harvest and post-harvest peanut safety and quality, including optimization of processing technologies, optimization of agronomic strategies to improve finished product quality, advanced nutritional analyses, oil chemistry/stability, sensory analyses, aflatoxin mitigation, and byproduct utilization. Before joining JLA in March of 2014, Jack served approximately ten years with a dual appointment as a research scientist with the USDA Agricultural Research Service and as a faculty member at North Carolina State University (NCSU) in the Dept. of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences.

Dr. Michael J. De La Zerda
Vice President, Technical & Regulatory Support

As the IEH Director of Technical & Regulatory Support, Dr. De La Zerda has numerous on-site experiences in the food industry. Dr. De La Zerda received his Ph.D, M.S., and B.S. in Animal Science from Texas A&M University. Examples of his on-site expertise include: broccoli, ready-to-eat, nut production, the processing of nuts, onions, sprouts, chocolate, bread, and fish. Each of these opportunities has provided numerous experiences in consulting, HACCP plan development and revision, personnel training, validation of process control and microbial interventions (E. coli O157, Salmonella, EHEC, and L. monocytogenes), and detailed regulatory activity assistance (Noncompliance Records, Notices of Intended Enforcement (NOIE) actions, Notices of Suspension (NOS) and Verification Plans, and Humane Handling issues). Prior to joining IEH, Dr. De La Zerda was responsible for the direction and implementation of the food safety programs of a natural and organic meat company’s multi-protein slaughter and ready-to-eat processing facilities across the U.S.

Heidi J. Wederquist
Senior Director, Technical Services

Heidi Wederquist is currently Senior Director of Technical Services at Seattle-based IEH Laboratories & Consulting Group. Ms. Wederquist earned her M.S. in Animal Science and her B.S. in Food Science and Human Nutrition from Colorado State University. At IEH, she coordinates and also works as a member of the Technical Services Consulting team. They help food companies develop food safety and quality assurance programs as well as programs needed to meet food industry and regulatory requirements. Prior to joining IEH, Wederquist worked for Chipotle, Inc. as the Director of Food Safety & Quality Assurance where, as a member of the Chipotle Supply Chain (Purchasing) team, she helped oversee quality and food safety programs for purchased foods including fresh and frozen produce, local produce and meats, prepared foods, bakery, and oils and seasonings. While at Chipotle, Wederquist also developed an online Supply Chain Management system, whole-chain Traceability programs, and a Vendor Performance Tracking system.

Cindy Ryan
Associate Director, Technical Services

Cindy Ryan began her professional career at Nestle in 1994 as a Senior Microbiologist. Ms. Ryan earned her M.S. in Food Science/Food Microbiology and her B.S. in Animal Science and Industry from Kansas State University. During her eleven year stay with Nestle, she moved from Sr. Microbiologist to Quality Assurance Manager, and finally to Sr. Microbiologist/Manager of HACCP Systems. Ryan’s duties ranged from functioning as the plant hygienist, auditing, troubleshooting, managing the QA department, quality training, implementation of quality systems to monitoring of pathogens and corresponding surveillance programs across U.S. and Canadian facilities. She also spearheaded troubleshooting and follow-up of problems involving packaging, processing quality and microbiological issues, as well as assisting Nestlé corporate. Prior to joining the IEH consulting team, Ryan spent 9 years as an independent consultant assisting food manufacturing facilities defining, organizing, correcting, implementing, maintaining and validating required QA and Food Safety programs including HACCP, allergen control and pathogen monitoring. Ryan enjoys working on a variety of projects, like assisting manufacturers in the areas of HACCP/Food Safety Plans, pathogen monitoring and control and allergen control, as well as projects dealing with microbiological troubleshooting.

Dea Lievano Woolrich
Associate Director, Technical Services

Dea Lievano Woolrich started at IEH in 2016 as the an Associate Director of Technical Services. Ms. Woolrich earned her B.S. in Food Science/Technology from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education. Since joining IEH, she has focused on training customer’s employees proper techniques and procedures, as well as working with restaurants and suppliers to investigate and resolve food quality issues. on aseptic technique, root cause analysis and corrective actions procedures. Ms. Woolrich, has also supported the Crisis Management Team and assisted in the execution of any necessary field product holds/ stock recoveries/retrievals related to food safety, including store, operations, distribution and supplier’s communication, and investigations. Prior to IEH, Woolrich worked at Chipotle Mexican Grill as the supplier facing Quality Assurance Manager. At Chipotle, Woolrich was responsible for managing the Quality Assurance Department and Program, as well as supporting the Crisis Management Team, among other duties. Woolrich is highly skilled at assuring high-quality standards for food quality, trainings, and operations.

Rafal Peter Knap
Director, Aseptic and Thermal Processing (IEH – CFPPS)

Rafal Knap is the Director of Aseptic and Thermal Processing at IEH. Mr. Knap earned his M.S. in Food Science and his B.S. in Microbiology from the University of British Columbia. Knap uses his extensive experience in microbiology, conventional thermal, and aseptic processing to design and manage complex validation projects of aseptic processing and packing equipment. In addition, in this current role he provides technical assistance to food industry companies in areas of thermal food processing (as a “Process Authority”) and food safety (low/high-acid foods, aseptic food products, food microbiology, risk assessment, GMPs, QC/QA issues and re-call assistance). Prior to working at IEH, Knap worked for a number of years for both the National Food Processors Association (NFPA) and the National Food Laboratory, Inc. (NFL). His role included providing consulting services to clients in the areas of thermal processing, food safety, new technologies and on issues pertaining to food microbiology, food safety, risk assessment, food processing equipment and process design.

Dr. Lou Nadala
Vice President, Regulatory & Quality System Support

Dr. Nadala is a microbiologist (with specialization in virology) and leads the Special Projects/Validations Group at the IEH Laboratories and Consulting Group. She earned her Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Hawaii, her M.S. in Microbiology, and B.S. in Biology from the University of the Philippines-Los Baños. Dr. Nadala also did her UNESCO Post-Graduate Course at the University of Tokyo. Dr. Nadala is primarily in-charge of planning and implementation of protocol validations for accreditation and client requirements. She also plans, monitors and writes summaries on special projects for clients and R&D activities related to food microbiology. Dr. Nadala has over 30 years of experience in microbial systematics, culture preservation and culture collection management, food safety testing, regulatory affairs and quality management systems (ISO 9001, ISO Guide 34, ISO 170025, ISO 13485), IVD regulations (CE marking), validation studies and clinical trials. She has authored peer-reviewed articles, including chapters in books and prepared technical submissions for CE marking and AOAC PTM certifications.

Merle Jacobs
Vice President, Agricultural Products

Merle Jacobs is the Vice President of Agricultural Products at IEH. He earned his B.S. in Business Administration from California State University, Stanislaus. Mr. Jacobs has over 40 years of experience in agriculture including food safety, quality control, operations, regulatory compliance, research, sales, service, and industry relations. Prior to joining IEH, Mr. Jacobs consulted on food safety in the nut industry and held the position of President and CEO of the American Council for Food Safety and the Specialty Crop Trade Council. Mr. Jacobs was with the Almond Board of California for 20 years. His responsibilities included food safety research and education, developing industry wide food safety programs, industry relations and ensuring marketing order compliance. He was instrumental in developing and implementing the voluntary aflatoxin testing and mandatory pasteurization programs for the almond industry.

Mark Deniston
Associate Director, Process Engineering at IEH Center for Food and Pharmaceutical Process Safety

Mark Deniston has worked with the IEH Center for Food and Pharmaceutical Process safety for 13 years. Mr. Deniston earned his M.S. in Food Engineering from UC Davis and his B.S. from Cal Poly. He has published works on heat transfers to food in steam/air system and hyperfiltration technology for protein recovery. Deniston has also taught four FDA Advanced Low Acid Canned Foods Workshops, twenty-nine NFPA and IEH Thermal Processing and PRocess Deviation Workshops, and over fifty-five Better Process Control Schools. Before working at IEH, Deniston worked at the National Food Protection Agency for 19 years in thermal processing and environmental engineering. Deniston also is currently continuing a 32-year 50% position at University of California Davis. Some of Deniston’s favorite projects include, teaching Thermal Processing Workshops, teaching Aseptic PRocessing Workshops, Performing Automated Control System Validation, and performing 21 CFR Part 11 Electronic Record Keeping Validation.

Veronica Elba-Rios
Scientist – Technical Services

Dr. Arias is a research associate at Molecular Epidemiology, Inc. (MEI)

since 2017. She received her PhD. in Food Science and Technology focused in Food Safety at Texas A&M University, her Masters in Food Science and Technology from the University Autonomous of Queretaro, and her Bachelors in Biochemical Engineering from the Regional Technological Institute of Colima. After joining MEI, Dr. Arias became the technical area lead in the department of Reference Materials. She has been involved in the in-house validation experiments of new IEH-media formulation as well as performing special client projects. For the special projects, she writes the research proposals for clients, performs the experiments, analyzes data and submit reports to the clients.

Dr. Mansour Samadpour
President & CEO

Dr. Mansour Samadpour received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington. After completing his Ph.D and post-doctoral studies, he went on to become a Research Associate and then an Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental Health at the University of Washington. Dr. Samadpour left the university in 2001 and started the Institute for Environmental Health (IEH Laboratories and Consulting Group) and Molecular Epidemiology, Inc. Dr. Samadpour’s areas of expertise are in the microbiology and pathogenesis of foodborne and waterborne infectious agents, the epidemiology of food and water borne diseases, the fate and transport of microbes in the environment and food production systems, molecular epidemiology, and the design and implementation of proactive food safety systems. He has had a leading role in defining and developing microbiological testing programs for food safety management for numerous industries and has been sought for his expertise in most of the major outbreaks that have occurred in the U.S. since 1993.

  • March 31st, 2018
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