(June 21) The United Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Association, Washington, D.C., has hired a food safety expert.

Jennifer Tong will join the association July 1 as director of food safety and nutrition research, a new position for the association.

Tong comes from the National Restaurant Association, where she served as director of health and safety regulatory affairs.

She will consult industry members on food safety and nutrition, said Donna Garren, vice president of scientific and technical affairs.

“We haven’t been able to focus on a lot of outside-the-beltway issues. Getting out there and reaching members will be a priority for Jennifer,” Garren said.

Garren, a microbiologist with a doctorate in food science and technology, said her expertise complemented Tong’s knowledge of the industry. While Garren had worked with growers and shippers, Tong’s outreach experience would help spread the association’s counseling to every link in the supply chain, Garren said.

“It puts us in a position where either one of us can go out and counsel members, depending on what the issue is,” she said.

United taps food safety, nutrition research chief