Director Technical and Regulatory Services
Dr. De La Zerda has been with IEH Laboratories and Consulting Group (IEH) as the Director, Technical & Regulatory Support for the last four years. This role has provided many on-site opportunities to experience the challenges faced by the various sectors of the food industry. Examples include broccoli grown and processed in Guatemala; raw and ready-to-eat meat industry of the U.S. and Canada; nut production and processing; onion processing; sprout processing; chocolate processing; bread production; and the fish industry of Alaska. 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). Dr. De La Zerda also directs the implementation of the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service Designated Laboratory program to support USDA meat purchase programs for IEH.
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. These included beef, pork, poultry, and lamb live animal production and processing, while the ready-to-eat components included sausages, deli, and ready-to-eat frozen foods.
Previously, Dr. De La Zerda directed the beef safety research program for a non-profit educational group in Texas. Other responsibilities included live cattle producer education about quality and beef safety; Korean, Mexican, Russian, and South American export and safety/quality educational program development; and safety/quality educational program development for nutritionist/registered dieticians.
Ph.D. in Animal Science, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, 2001
M.S. in Animal Science, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, Kingsville, TX, 1997
B.S. in Animal Science, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, Kingsville, TX , 1994