June 30, 2005

IFPA Hires New VP for Technical Services

The International Fresh-cut Produce Association (IFPA) has hired David Gombas as its new vice president for technical services.

A former vice president of the National Food Processors Association (NFPA) and scientist with Campbell Soup Company and Kraft Foods, Gombas will fill the position formerly held by Jim Gorny.

Gombas will fill an expanded role including directing IFPA’s technical, food safety, regulatory, public policy and training programs. According to IFPA, Gombas brings extensive association and corporate experience to IFPA, in addition to strong academic and research credentials.

Gombas spent 10 years with NFPA, now the Food Products Association, overseeing research, quality assurance and food safety programs. He headed the association’s National Food Laboratory for five years, leading efforts on food microbiology, processing chemistry, packaging and claims investigations. He directed NFPA’s supplier audits for food excellence (SAFE) program, overseeing technical, audit quality assurance, auditor training, marketing and P&L. He grew the program 400 percent in audits and $150,000 net revenue per year.

“David brings to IFPA a high level of hands-on experience and knowledge about the food processing industry and food safety-related issues,” said IFPA Chairman Bob Whitaker, vice president, produce development & food safety at NewStar Fresh Foods LLC. “With his extensive experience and contacts within the key regulatory agencies and his strong corporate and association expertise, he is a perfect match for this critical position.”

Before joining NFPA, Gombas worked as a manager of microbiology and food safety at Kraft General Foods, heading a staff of 12 responsible for assuring microbiological safety and stability of all shelf-stable, refrigerated and frozen products for Kraft USA. He began his career at Campbell Soup Company as a group research scientist where he worked for six years on microbiological research programs related to food safety and shelf-life extension.

Gombas’ most recent position was as a president of integrity food and drug consulting, which provides consultation and auditing services to the food and pharmaceutical industries in product safety, microbiology, good manufacturing practices and regulatory compliance.

Gombas earned a bachelor’s degree in food science from Rutgers University, a master’s degree in food microbiology from M.I.T. and a doctorate in food microbiology from the University of Massachusetts. He has published research on a wide range of technical and food safety topics, including food-borne pathogens, microbiology and HACCP.

Gombas will start his new position on July 20 and will work out of IFPA headquarters in Alexandria, Va.

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