International Food Protection Training Institute (IFPTI) Appoints New Members to Board of Directors

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Chairman of the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium and Leaders from the Nation's Food Protection Community Create Strong Governing Body

Their roles in the governance of the Institute will contribute significantly to the continued development and delivery of standards-based training of the highest quality for food safety officials at a time that is particularly critical as state and local governments strive to assure the safety of the nation's food supply.

The International Food Protection Training Institute (IFPTI), a leader in delivering career-spanning, standards-based food protection training to state and local food safety officials, announced today the appointment to its Board of Directors of Jim Fernandez, Executive Director of the National Center for Security Research and Training (NCSRT), and Chairman of the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium (NDPC).

As Executive Director of NCSRT, Mr. Fernandez oversees $50 million of training-related activities in three national stand-alone security training organizations, one of which is the National Center for Biomedical Research and Training (NCBRT). In February 2010, IFPTI and NCBRT executed a Memorandum of Understanding covering their collaboration in the development and delivery of cutting-edge food protection training programs.

"Jim Fernandez has overseen the creation of one of the nation's largest and most successful professional training and development programs for government regulators and emergency responders," said Stephen Benoit, president and chief operating officer of the National Center for Food Protection and a founding Board member of IFPTI. "We look forward to Jim's contributions as a member of the Board as the Institute continues to play its part in the creation of a national integrated food safety system."

"My appointment to the Board of Directors of IFPTI is a great honor," said Mr. Fernandez, "and I am looking forward to working with the other Board members and the Institute leadership team." Fernandez added, "The training programs developed and delivered by IFPTI and its collaborators are among the best in the world and I am thrilled to be associated with them."

Joining Mr. Fernandez on the IFPTI Board are three widely-recognized leaders in the nation's food protection community: Marion F. Aller, DVM, DABT, Director, Division of Food Safety, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), Joseph Corby, Executive Director, Association of Food & Drug Officials, and Dan S. Smyly, Ph.D., Scientific & Regulatory Affairs Director with The Coca-Cola Company, North American Division.

"Marion, Joe, and Dan each have long careers in food protection and they have individually and collectively played critical leadership roles in calling for the creation of a national integrated food safety system," said Gerald Wojtala, Executive Director of IFPTI. "Their roles in the governance of the Institute will contribute significantly to the continued development and delivery of standards-based training of the highest quality for food safety officials at a time that is particularly critical as state and local governments strive to assure the safety of the nation's food supply."

The appointment of Mr. Fernandez, Dr. Aller, Mr. Corby, and Dr. Smyly bring the number of directors of IFPTI to eight, including Dr. David William Kennedy Acheson, Managing Director, Food and Import Safety Practice at Leavitt Partners, Mr. Stephen Benoit, President & COO of the National Center for Food Protection, Mr. Rick Foster, tenured professor in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and holder of an Endowed Chair in Food, Society and Sustainability at Michigan State University, and Mr. Gerald Wojtala, Executive Director of IFPTI.

To date, working in partnership with the Association of Food & Drug Officials, and in collaboration with the FDA, IFPTI has trained nearly 500 food protection professionals from more than 35 states. Utilizing a FY2010 federal appropriation of $1 million, IFPTI expects to train an additional 1,000 state and local food protection professionals in 2010 and the Institute is preparing to train up to 2,000 to 3,000 food safety officials in 2011 utilizing $8 million in funding allocated for such purposes in the President's FY2011 Budget.

Detailed biographies for each of the members of IFPTI's Board of Directors can be found at http://ifpti.org/Board.cfm.

About IFPTI
The International Food Protection Training Institute (IFPTI) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization delivering career-spanning food protection training for state and local food protection professionals to assure competency and equivalency in meeting established U.S. federal food safety standards. Working in partnership with the Association of Food and Drug Officials, the Institute seeks to protect the public's health by working with federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial food protection officials in the creation of an integrated national food protection system that ensures the safety of the U.S. food supply. IFPTI's training facilities are located in Western Michigan University's Kendall Center in Battle Creek, MI. Initial funding for IFPTI has been provided by a grant from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. For more information, visit http://www.ifpti.org.

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