Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection Secretary Rod Nilsestuen has appointed Steven C. Ingham administrator of the department’s Division of Food Safety. Ingham comes to the department from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he has been at the forefront of developing real-world systems to protect food safety at critical, hazardous points in processing.
“We’re delighted to have someone of Steve Ingham’s deep and extensive experience, both in the science of food safety and in the industry itself,” Nilsestuen said. “He’s widely known in meat and food industry circles as both a researcher and a leader in developing solutions to real-world problems.
“Wisconsin has a long and well-deserved reputation for high-quality, safe food. Dairy and food processing constitute two of our top five manufacturing sectors, so food safety is essential not only to the health of our citizens, but to the health of our economy. Steve Ingham understands those dual needs and will serve them well.”
“It’s important to be sure that Wisconsin’s food supply is safe. We can do that best if we base decisions and regulations on science, and if we work together with other agencies. I’ve worked with the food safety division over the years, and am excited about working with the staff in this new capacity,” Ingham said. “Effective regulation starts with effective education. I know that has been the division’s philosophy, and I think my background of working with the industry through the University of Wisconsin-Extension will dovetail with that philosophy.”
Ingham earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from Cornell University. He held faculty posts at Louisiana State University and the University of Saskatchewan (Canada) before joining the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Food Science in 1993, where he is a full professor.
At UW-Madison, he has spent 75 percent of his time in extension and 25 percent in research. His assignment has been to conduct outreach and research that assists Wisconsin’s food processors in assuring safe products.
To that end, he:
Developed models for meat and poultry processors to implement the federally mandated Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point, or HACCP, system of preventing contamination at the most risky points in processing.
Directed HACCP training for meat, poultry, seafood, and juice processors and regulators.
Directed a process control short course for the canning industry.
Helped develop web-based meat safety resources
Conducted applied research to validate the safety of meat industry processes.
The food safety division is responsible for licensing and inspecting dairy farms and dairy plants, grocery stores and delicatessens, food processing plants and warehouses, and some meat slaughter and processing plants. The division also licenses butter and cheese makers and graders, as well as regulating many other activities in the state’s vital dairy industry.
Ingham will begin work Dec. 1. He succeeds Steve Steinhoff, who retired in May after 35 years with the food safety division, the past 17 years as its administrator.