Baby Food Standard & Certification

Committees

 

Created in January 2019 in partnership with Cornell University and the Environmental Defense Fund, the Baby Food Council (“Council”) is a group of infant and toddler food companies, supported by key stakeholders, seeking to reduce heavy metals in the companies’ products to as low as reasonably achievable using best-in-class management practices.

The responsibilities of the Oversight Committee are to:

  • Assure credible execution of the Baby Food Standard and Certification Program.
  • Provide oversight and strategic direction regarding the scope and development and growth of the Standard.
  • Appoint and manage technical, communication, and other committees.
  • Approve all public releases of documents and communications related to the standard.

 

Current members (this section still under construction)

 

Convening Chair: Tom Neltner – Chemicals Policy Director, Health

Environmental Defense Fund

Tom Neltner is the Environmental Defense Fund’s Chemicals Policy Director. He leads efforts to remove or minimize hazardous chemicals from products and the marketplace through cross-cutting policy initiatives. His primary focus is on food additive safety and reducing exposure to lead in our homes and communities. He is a chemical engineer and attorney with experience in chemical safety issues in the workplace, the environment, the home, consumer products, and food. Tom has worked on lead poisoning prevention at the federal, state and local levels for more than 20 years. He served on EPA’s Children’s Health Protection Advisory Committee for eight years and played a leading role in an EPA-convened, multi-stakeholder workgroup that made recommendations to the agency to upgrade its lead in drinking water regulations. He has worked in chemical, food additive, pesticide, and pharmaceutical manufacturing as well as state government and public interest advocacy with stints as an adjunct professor at Indiana University through many of those years. He is a Healthy Homes Specialist, Certified Hazardous Materials Manager and elected Fellow of the National Institute for Hazardous Materials Managers.

 


 

Charlotte Brody – National Director

Healthy Babies Bright Futures

Charlotte is a registered nurse, the mother of two sons, and vice president for Health Initiatives of the BlueGreen Alliance. She has led a Planned Parenthood affiliate and been among the founders of the Brown Lung Association, Health Care Without Harm, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, Green for All and Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families. Charlotte previously served as the Executive Director of Commonweal, and a founder and Executive Director of Health Care Without Harm.

 

 


 

De Ann Davis , Ph.D. – Senior Vice President, Science

Western Growers

De Ann Davis, Ph.D., is Senior Vice President, Science for Western Growers. The Science division leads the association’s engagement in several issue areas, including food safety, crop protection, sustainability and industry data initiatives. Davis brings extensive expertise to the leadership team with more than 25 years of experience in the development and execution of technical global programs, including food safety, quality assurance and regulatory compliance.

Following an impressive run in consumer products safety, Davis transitioned to packaged food and fresh produce safety nearly a decade ago. She most recently served as Food Safety Director for Commercial Food Sanitation, a provider of strategic consulting services, expertise and training that addresses food safety and sanitation challenges for food processing plants. Previously, Davis was Vice President of Food Safety and Quality for both Church Brothers Farms and Earthbound Farm, and earlier as Chief Food Safety Officer for Kraft Foods Group, where she was engaged in the development of the regulatory framework for the Food Safety Modernization Act.

Davis earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology and Chemistry from Point Loma Nazarene University and her PhD in Biochemistry from Texas A&M University. She is also a certified Diplomat of the American Board of Toxicology, where she has served since 1996. Davis holds several committee appointments within the produce industry, including having recently served as the Chair of the Board of Advisors for the Center for Food Safety, University of Georgia. Davis recently concluded a three-year appointment to the USDA National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Food.

 


 

Debra Oglesby – Division Assistant Director of Food Laboratory

New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets | Food Laboratory Division

Debra Oglesby holds a BS in Environmental Chemistry from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. She has been the Assistant Director of the New York Department of Agriculture and Markets, Division of Food Laboratory since 2004. She also serves as Principal Investigator (PI) and the Technical Program Manager (TPM) for the USDA cooperative agreement Pesticide Data Program, a position she has held since 2003. Debbie has worked in the Food Laboratory since 1988 and her work has been primarily focused on pesticide analysis in foods.

 


 

Jason Rosecast – Vice President of Quality & Food Safety

Happy Family Organics

Jason is the Vice President of Quality & Food Safety for Happy Family Organics.  With a background in agronomy, analytical chemistry and a B.S. in Chemistry from Boise State University, Jason has been working in the space of growing and processing safe & healthy foods for over a decade.  In his work, Jason focuses on a data-driven approach to food safety controls & continuous improvement across the industry.

 


 

Maria Ishida, Ph.D., CPN – Division Director of Food Laboratory

New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets | Food Laboratory Division

Maria Ishida holds a PhD in Biochemistry from the Federal University of Parana (Brazil). She started her public health career as molecular biologist and was, over the years, promoted to management positions at Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. In 2007, she accepted the Bureau Chief of Food Laboratories position. While in Florida, Dr. Ishida managed the only statewide regulatory laboratory responsible for testing retail and manufactured food collected throughout the state. In addition, Dr. Ishida oversaw projects, BSL-2 and BSL-3 exercises under Food Emergency Response Network (FERN) and cooperative agreements with federal agencies (FDA and USDA). By the time Dr. Ishida joined the New York Department of Agriculture and Markets, Division of Food Laboratory in 2015, she brought to the table her experience acquired in Florida and continued to manage a regulatory laboratory responsible for testing industrial hemp, human and animal food for the entire New York state. She is very active on several public health workgroups and committees within FERN, Partnership for Food Protection (PFP), APHL, Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO) as a subject expert manner.

 


 

Michael Gardinier – Vice President of Operations

Farm Fresh First LLC

Michael holds a B.S. degree in agronomy for Cornell University. He started his career with Seneca Foods as an agriculture manager working with fruit and vegetable growers. Advanced to Operations Director with responsibilities for the fruit and vegetable processing facility operations for Seneca Foods in New York State. He joined Agrilink Foods in 1998 as Director of Agriculture Operations and managed vegetable supply in New York for both Seneca Foods and Agrilink under a joint supply agreement. Became managing partner in Farm Fresh First in January 2007. Farm Fresh First is a partnership of fruit and vegetable growers, and former processing industry management. The goal of Farm Fresh First is to be a leading provider of fruits and vegetables to the processing industry in the northeastern U.S. Michael serves as chairman of the New York Processing Vegetable Research Association/Council, an entity that consists of growers and processor representatives that provide funding and direction for vegetable research projects.

 


 

Rui Hai Liu, Ph.D., M.D. – Professor, Department of Food Science

Cornell University

Dr. Rui Hai Liu is a Professor in the Department of Food Science at Cornell University. He received his Ph.D. in Toxicology from Cornell University. Dr. Liu’s research program has focused on diet and cancer, the effect of functional foods and bioactive compounds on chronic disease risks. He has published more than 220 peer-reviewed research papers with 23,924 citations. He has been named as a Highly Cited Researcher for 7 consecutive years (2014 – 2020). Dr. Liu has been ranked as one of the top 5 scientists in the field of Agricultural Sciences and has given more than 390 research presentations.

 

The responsibilities of the Technical Committee are to:

  • Develop and revise the Baby Food Standard and Certification Program to fulfill its stated purpose.
  • Ensure technical credibility of the standard.
  • Develop materials to assist stakeholders in understanding and fulfilling the purpose of the standard.

 

Current members (this section still under construction)

Committee Chair: Todd DeKryger, PhD. – North American Regional Manager, Sustainable Agricultural Development

Nestlé Infant Nutrition 

Todd DeKryger is North American Regional Manager for Sustainable Agricultural Development for Nestlé Infant Nutrition in Fremont, Michigan.  Amongst other things, his duties include developing agricultural policy for Gerber and providing leadership on infant food contaminant and agricultural sustainability issues. He is a three-time Michigan State Spartan, earning a BS from the Department of Horticulture, a MS from the Department of Entomology and a PhD from the Department of Community Sustainability.

 

 


 

Alejandro Rodriguez-Sanchez – Postdoctoral Researcher

Purdue University

Alejandro Rodriguez-Sanchez obtained his PhD in Civil Engineering from the University of Granada (Spain) in 2019, focusing on molecular identification of environmental microbial communities in engineered systems. His research has been focused on the microbial communities in man-made environments, how they shape these environments and are shaped by them, and how to engineer microbial communities in man-made systems for environmental protection of water resources and development of agriculture. Currently working as a postdoctoral researcher under the supervision of Lori Hoagland in the Department of Horticulture at Purdue University, he is researching on the protective effect of soil microbiome against heavy metal uptake and salinity stress in horticultural crops such as Lactuca sativa or Phaseolus vulgaris, and on the effect that soil heavy metal contamination have on the growth, uptake, and configuration of microbial seedborne endophytes in Chenopodium quinoa and Chenopodium berlandieri, among other soil-plant microbiome interactions.

 


 

 

Arthur Villordon – Professor, Sweet Potato Research Station

LSU AgCenter

Arthur Villordon is based at the Louisiana State University AgCenter Sweet Potato Research Station. He uses an integrative approach to sweet potato production research that focuses on storage root formation as key to the testing and development of management practices for increased production efficiency, food safety, and reduced impact on the environment. Central to this integrative approach is the consideration of root system architecture as an integrator of internal, environmental, and management determinants of storage root yield, quality, and shape attributes. The long-term goal is to develop tools for manipulating root system architecture for increased nutrient efficiency and resilient sweet potato yields for fresh and processing markets under diverse and changing environments.

 


 

 

Boma Brown-West – Director, Safe & Healthy Products

Environmental Defense Fund

Boma leads EDF’s corporate engagement to eliminate toxic chemicals from consumer products and create a safer marketplace. She works closely with major retailers and consumer brands, advocating for smart chemical policies, ambitious corporate sustainability programs and increased value chain transparency. She launched EDF’s Five Pillars for Safer Chemicals Leadership and SustainaBuy: The Future of Sustainable E-Commerce. Prior to joining EDF in 2013, Boma worked for a decade at Whirlpool Corporation. There, she played a driving role in establishing Whirlpool’s North American sustainability strategy and working with industry colleagues to create the region’s first ever appliance sustainability standards. Boma has an M.S. in Technology & Policy from MIT and a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Yale University.

 


 

 

Chris Bonafide – Quality Systems Manager

The Hain Celestial Group, Inc.

Chris is the Quality Systems Manager for the Hain Celestial Group and oversees the company’s testing program. Previously, Chris supervised the Supplier Quality Team, which is responsible for ensuring supplier compliance to Hain standards. Chris has a B.S. in biomedical engineering and worked in the medical device industry for several years before making the transition to Hain. He has brought insights and concepts from that industry to find applications within the CPG industry.

 


 

 

David Gould – Global Head, Sustainability Programs

FoodChain ID

David Gould is Global Head of Sustainability Programs for FoodChain ID. He is a food scientist by training with a degree in Life Sciences from MIT. He has been involved in the food and agriculture sector for the past 25 years and has worked on issues of genetic engineering and its effects on health and ecology since 1996. David was one of the originators of non-GMO standards and certification programs and has stayed closely involved in their development globally throughout their development. Working across a range of sustainability schemes, he has inspected and/or certified thousands of farms, processing facilities, and other value chain actors on 6 continents, and contributed to the formation of numerous standards and policies in addition to non-GMO, including organic, fair trade, fisheries, and non-food agriculture-based sectors. He has and continues to train and consult globally to the private sector and government agencies on sustainable development, quality assurance, policy reform, and stakeholder engagement. Prior to joining FoodChain ID at the beginning of 2019, David spent the previous 7 years as Senior Facilitator for IFOAM – Organics International, where he was instrumental in elaborating best practices in agriculture, its value chains, and the forward trajectory of the organic movement. He lives in Portland, Oregon, where he also spent various years as owner of a small food processing business and a permaculture farm.

 


 

 

Emily Griep, Ph.D. – Manager, Food Safety

United Fresh Produce Association

United Fresh Produce Association is a national trade association with over 1600 members at the forefront of the fresh and fresh-cut produce industry, including growers, shippers, fresh-cut processors, wholesalers, distributors, retailers, foodservice operators, industry suppliers and allied associations. The United Fresh food safety team works collaboratively with industry members, produce safety researchers, and regulatory representatives alike to ensure consumer’s continued access to safe, nutritious produce. As Manager, Food Safety, Emily leads various initiatives to support the association’s scientific and policy objectives, including the development of technical resources and leadership in produce safety training efforts on topics such as the Produce GAPs Harmonized Standard, FSMA implementation, and outbreak response. Emily earned her Ph.D. in Food Science from Cornell University as a USDA National Needs Fellow in Food Safety for a Global Economy. She has previously worked for General Mills after earning her B.S. in Food Science & Technology from Iowa State University.

 


 

 

Greg Bird – Executive Director

Michigan Vegetable Council & the Michigan Onion Committee 

Greg is the Executive Director of the Michigan Vegetable Council and the Michigan Onion Committee.  Greg recently migrated the home offices of the businesses from Mason, MI to St Johns, MI.  The Michigan Vegetable Council is one of two organizations which hosts the Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable, and Farm Market Expo in Grand Rapids, MI each December.  The Michigan Onion Committee manages the onion assessments levied each year in Michigan.  Greg has a bachelor of science degree from Michigan State University.

 

 


 

 

Jane Houlihan – Research Director

Healthy Babies Bright Futures

Jane Houlihan directs research programs at Healthy Babies Bright Futures, where she works to reduce children’s exposures to toxic chemicals in the first 1000 days of development. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Georgia Institute of Technology in civil engineering, with a focus on environmental engineering, and served as a research fellow at Stanford University. Jane oversaw the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) research programs and online consumer guides for over a decade as the group’s senior vice president. She serves on the science board of the Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, is among the founders of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, leads HBBF’s Lower the Levels initiative for safer baby foods, and is the founder of EWG’s Skin Deep and other online tools that empower families seeking healthy products.

 


 

Jason Rosecast – Vice President of Quality & Food Safety

Happy Family Organics

Jason is the Vice President of Quality & Food Safety for Happy Family Organics.  With a background in agronomy, analytical chemistry and a B.S. in Chemistry from Boise State University, Jason has been working in the space of growing and processing safe & healthy foods for over a decade.  In his work, Jason focuses on a data-driven approach to food safety controls & continuous improvement across the industry.

 


 

Jillian Glew – Senior Food Safety Manager, Americas Region

Reckitt – Infant & Child Nutrition

Jillian is the Senior Food Safety Manager for Reckitt – Infant & Child Nutrition for the Americas region.  She has over 15 years’ experience working in various quality assurance and product development roles including baby food brands such as Enfamil and Gerber.  She has combined her experience in food safety and R&D to develop programs that establish safety by design.  She has a B.S. in Food Science & Technology from Michigan State University.

 


 

 

Lori Hoagland – Professor

Purdue University

Lori joined the faculty in the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture at Purdue University in 2010 in a newly created position designed to support the continued growth, productivity and safety of local food production systems. To accomplish these goals, she looks for ways to leverage beneficial plant-soil-microbial relationships in specialty crop production systems. Soil microbes regulate many key agroecosystem services, such as cycling of essential nutrients like nitrogen as well as toxic heavy metals like cadmium. Some soil microbes can also form intimate associations with plants, helping them acquire resources, withstand biotic and abiotic stress, and prevent the uptake of toxic heavy metals into edible plant tissues. She obtained a BS in Environmental Science and a MS in Agroecology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), and a PhD in Soil Microbiology and Biochemistry from Washington State University (WSU). Prior to initiating her graduate studies, she spent three years working in the organic seed industry and conducted her post-doctoral studies in a plant breeding lab at WSU investigating genetic controls on beneficial plant-microbial relationships.

 


 

Michael Mazourek – Calvin Knoyes Keeney Associate Professor of Vegetable Breeding

Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Michael Mazourek is the Calvin Knoyes Keeney Associate Professor of Vegetable Breeding at Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. For the past decade he has specialized in the breeding and genomics of pumpkin and squash for pest and disease resistance and fruit quality. He has released numerous cultivars and breeding parents that are used by growers and seed companies in the US and globally. Michael is also a co-founder of Row 7 Seeds.

 


 

Monica Foote, Ph.D. – Quality Analyst

BeechNut Nutrition Company

Monica’s education is in Immunology and Nutritional Physiology. Prior to entering the food industry, she spent 15 years in academic research focusing on neonatal immunology, nutritional physiology, molecular biology, and microbiology.  One of her favorite focus areas was studying the effects of specific nutrients on the development of the immune system in young animals. She entered the food industry nearly a decade ago and started her own small company, prioritizing R&D and Food Safety. Monica joined Beechnut Nutrition Company a year ago and has been an active participant in analyzing heavy metals in raw materials. She is well-versed in methodology, data collection, and analysis of heavy metals.

 


 

Robert Harvey – Technical Services Director

Beech-Nut Nutrition Company

Robert is an analytical chemist and chemical engineer by education and training. Robert has been working at Beech-Nut for 35 years conducting raw material testing for heavy metals and pesticide residues, including some field work with root and ground crops and soil testing. Robert has been the companies process authority since 1991 and has developed the HACCP and Food Safety plans where they identified heavy metals as a hazard for infants.

 


 

Rui Hai Liu, Ph.D., M.D. – Professor, Department of Food Science

Cornell University

Dr. Rui Hai Liu is a Professor in the Department of Food Science at Cornell University. He received his Ph.D. in Toxicology from Cornell University. Dr. Liu’s research program has focused on diet and cancer, the effect of functional foods and bioactive compounds on chronic disease risks. He has published more than 220 peer-reviewed research papers with 23,924 citations. He has been named as a Highly Cited Researcher for 7 consecutive years (2014 – 2020). Dr. Liu has been ranked as one of the top 5 scientists in the field of Agricultural Sciences and has given more than 390 research presentations.

The responsibilities of the Communications Committee are to:

  • Develop communications and related materials for Baby Food Standard and Certification Program.
  • Communicate to stakeholder groups, public and consumers.
  • Develop a product logo brands can use to identify products that comply with the standard.

 

Current members (this section still under construction)

 

Committee Chair: Amanda Ettinger – Consumer Engagement Manager

Beech Nut Nutrition Company

Amanda Ettinger is the Consumer Engagement Manager at Beech-Nut Nutrition Company. Her primary responsibility is to ensure world-class customer service across email, phone, and social media channels ensuring that Beech-Nut consumers remain loyal fans. Additionally, Amanda supports Beech-Nut’s Public Relations Team for both internal and external communication initiatives. Amanda holds a B.A. in Communications with a focus in Public Relations from The Pennsylvania State University.

 

 


 

Jessica Dickstein – Vice President, Marketing

Happy Family Organics

Jessica Dickstein currently leads the Marketing Communications team at Happy Family Organics, the market leader in organic baby food. She has over 15 years of experience in global product development, brand management, marketing research, and communications across organic food and early childhood development categories. Most recently, Jessica led Happy Family Organics’ first consumer-centric campaign to educate on the benefits of regenerative agriculture (reaching 50M parents) and accelerate adoption of practices within the baby food industry. Jessica holds a BSBA from Washington University in St. Louis and is certified by Cornell in Maternal & Infant Nutrition.

 


 

 

Natalie McKeon – Manager, Marketing & Communications, New York, NY

EDF+Business 

Natalie McKeon is a Marketing and Communications Manager with EDF+Business, Environmental Defense Fund’s corporate engagement program, where she drives strategic communications. Natalie works to build thought leadership, manage media relations and carry out social media and content development.

 

 

 

 


 

 

Paige Glidden – Communications Director

Healthy Babies Bright Futures

As a seasoned communications professional and passionate advocate for child health, Paige manages all external relations for Healthy Babies Bright Futures. From content creation to media relations, her expertise has spanned the entire communications spectrum. Her nonprofit career has included work to expand contraceptive access for young women, provide menstrual health products for girls around the world, and a focus on international development and global health at the United Nations Foundation.

Click here to read Committee meeting minutes.