R. Bruce Tompkin
VP Product Safety (retired),
ConAgra Refrigerated Prepared Foods
Dr. Tompkin received his Ph.D. in microbiology from Ohio State University in 1963 and started as a research microbiologist with Swift & Company in 1964. He became Chief Microbiologist in 1966 and retained that position until 1993 when he was promoted to Vice President Product Safety for ConAgra Refrigerated Foods. He and his colleagues investigated how to control pathogens in a wide variety of foods and food processing environments, new processing technologies, the use of additives to improve food safety and the role of sodium nitrite in controlling Clostridium botulinum. From 1987 until his retirement approximately 70% of his time was devoted to managing Listeria in ready-to-eat food operations. During that time the company grew to include over 200 packaging lines for ready-to-eat meat and poultry products in more than 25 plants. A significant portion of his time involved sharing best practices with others in industry, government and academia.