The senior advisor for the office at food safety at the food and Drug Administration, Jim Gorny, is leaving the agency to become vice president of food safety and technology at the Produce Marketing Association, Newark, Del.

The new position at PMA will include responsibilities in the areas of food safety research, biotechnology, agricultural innovations, environmental sustainability and packaging technology, according to a news release from the association.

Senior FDA food safety adviser moves to PMAJan DeLyser, chairwoman of the PMA board of directors, said in the release the organization has been investing resources in those areas since 2008. She said hiring Gorny will help the association meet long-term strategy goals to help members meet the changing challenges of the fresh produce industry.

Gorny will continue in his role with the Center for Produce Safety at the University of California-Davis. Before going to the FDA, he was executive director of the Postharvest Technology Research and Information Center at the university and continued working with the Center for Produce Safety while at the FDA.

Gorny will be based in California after an initial orientation phase with PMA staff, according to the release. At PMA Gorny will work with director of food safety Johnna Hepner and vice president of supply chain affiances Ed Treacy. He will report to PMA’s chief science and technology officer Bob Whitaker.

“This is another part of PMA’s educational focus, not only in food safety, but in science and technology,” Whitaker said in the release. “It also connects directly to our strategic initiatives to develop industry talent and globalize PMA’s science and technology practice. Jim, by nature, is an educator and scientist, making him a natural fit to fulfill this role.”

Gorny said in the release that he is glad to be moving back to working directly with the fresh produce industry.

“From my perspective, developing science and technology-related educational programs and advancing industry research by working with the Center for Produce Safety are two areas that are going to be critical to advancing the produce industry,” said Gorny in the release.

In addition to his work with FDA and the university, he also previously served as senior vice president of food safety and technology for the United Fresh Produce Association/International Fresh-Cut Produce Association, which merged in 2006. He received his doctorate in plant biology from the University of California-Davis and his bachelor’s and master degrees in food science from Louisiana State University.