About the Authors

Christine Blackledge

MSA, MPH, MSFS, IFLR and HACCP

Food Safety Consultant

Farm to Fork has a personal meaning to me. My grandfather started the stockyards/auction houses in Michigan and I have childhood memories of listening to auctioneers and playing in the wool room. My father’s farm concentrated on beef cattle and sheep. Summers were full of 4-H fairs and farm work. I went and lived on a dairy farm, as part of an exchange program, learned to milk cows in the fields and bring the full milk cans back to the barn on my bicycle handles. I married into a centennial dairy farm family and spent my days milking cows, doing field work, growing and preserving food while raising a family. As a 4-H leader my children enjoyed the fairs and farm pets.

I started college as a non-traditional student when my eldest son went off to college. I graduated from the local Northwest Michigan college with honors in my nursing and business studies. A recent university center gave me the opportunity to complete a BS in community development from Central Michigan University while running my own business. While raising my six children I’ve sold cars, nurse call and communication systems, been a securities and commodity broker and hung holiday decorations in municipalities. 

Accomplishing my MSA in International Business, from Central Michigan University began a new chapter in my life. I wrote for an international internship and received a call from Washington DC asking if I would consider participating on a USAID project in Africa. I said yes and I have continued to learn from farmers and producers around the world.

I felt I needed more than my farming, entrepreneur, and business background to help create markets and improve conditions. Too many of the projects I worked on contained predominately business and numbers people. They had no knowledge of the applications needed to create better conditions and safe foods for international markets.

I went to Michigan State University and gained master degrees in Public Health and Food Safety, along with certificates in HACCP and International Food Laws and Regulations. I was on a USAID assignment in Liberia when I took the Codex Alimentarius class online from Dr. V.P. Hegarty. The USAID project was creating food producers. But was the food safe for consumption? Liberia had no food laws and no laboratory capacity. I got permission to bring Dr. Hegarty, a professor that I had never met in person, to Liberia to put on a workshop for the Ministries and people of Liberia to help create a change.

I have had the privilege of working from farm to fork in Latin America, the Middle East, the Near East, and in 18 African countries. I have learned more from them than anything I’ve read in textbooks about cultures, farming, processing and life. I now know where much of the food comes from on the USA grocery shelves and what it took to get it there.

And so my journey for safe food began….

P. Vincent Hegarty

Adjunct Professor, Global Food Law Program, College of Law, Michigan State University (MSU)

Professor and Founding Director Emeritus, Institute for Food Laws and Regulations, MSU

P. Vincent Hegarty is the Founding Director of the International Food Law Program and Founding Director, Institute for Food Laws and Regulations at Michigan State University (MSU); Adjunct Professor, College of Law and Professor Emeritus, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at MSU. He has degrees in Biochemistry, Chemistry, Human Nutrition, Economics. He received his Ph.D. degree from the University of London, England. He is a Fellow of the International Union of Food Science and Technology (IUFoST). He had Visiting Professorships at universities in Africa, Asia, Canada, Caribbean, Europe and the Middle East. He has written four books. His consultancies include: WHO, FAO, NIH, FAS/USDA, USAID, Pew Charitable Trust, etc…

In 2019 Dr. Hegarty taught the Codex Alimentarius course at MSU. 

curriculum vitae:

Christine Blackledge MSA, MPH, MSFS, IFLR and HACCP

Food Safety Consultant

Highly qualified and trained professional with 12+ years of global consulting experience

Consultant who can quickly assess current programs and practices to identify opportunities for improvement. Holistic experience and success in international development with a focus on food regulations, safety, health, and law, as well as business and agriculture.

Areas of Expertise

  • International Food Laws
  • Global Food Safety Challenges
  • Multisectoral Collaboration
  • Regulatory Standards
  • Food Export Label Regs
  • Agricultural Trade
  • National Codex Commissions
  • Inter-Ministerial Responsibilities
  • Analysis & Risk Assessment

Career Experience

Michigan State University College of Law, Global Food Law Program, Instructor — 2023-Present

Michigan State University International Short Course in Food Safety, Guest Speaker — 2021, 2022, 2023

International Agriculture and Food Safety Regulatory Standards Consultant — 2010-Present

Leverage extensive training and hands-on experience to enable organizations to optimize their processes and practices to support food safety, inspections, exports, and regulations. Select engagements include:
  • Winrock International Institute for Agricultural Development, Philippines (7/2023) Building Safe Agricultural Food Enterprises (B-SAFE) Project with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). Training on Food Fraud Prevention for the food safety regulatory agencies (FSRA’s) in the Philippine Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Conceptualize strategy to use data analysis to improve technical knowledge, skills, and practices of the partners on SPS and food safety standards.
  • The Federal Capital Authority College of Education (FCT/COE) and Winrock International , Nigeria (April-May 2023) Workshop on Strategic Planning and Resource Mobilization by stakeholders.
  • Partners of America, Guyana (1-2023) Created regional relationships and networking of stakeholders on Global Gap for export of fresh vegetables based on the country’s needs and priorities.
  • Palladium International (3-12/2022) The USAID / Guatemala Creating Economic Opportunities (CEO) Project supports economic growth, private sector development, competitiveness, and job creation in Guatemala. Field Research and market analysis for Identification of potential buyers (coffee roasters) of Guatemalan deferential or “Third Wave” coffee in the States of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin, USA.
  • Land O’Lakes Venture37, Lebanon (2020-2023): Food Safety Management Systems, encompassing international food safety regulations, ensuring compliance, and clarifying food reject reports. Codex Alimentarius compliance for commerce exports. FSMA compliant Nutritional Fact Labeling guidelines for SME companies and products. Lectured and facilitated workshops at the University of Notre Dame University and Islamic University of Lebanon regarding Codex participation, national food system gaps.
  • NCBA/CLUSA, Honduras (10/2021) Provided commodity specific food safety guidelines based on Codex regulations and worked on cultural needs for compliance to international standards by strengthening stakeholders’ partnerships.
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  • Michigan State University College of Law (Fall 2020): Instruct students on Africa and Middle East Food Regulations. Completed a USAID project with the national partners necessary to create a safe food supply, leading to a food safety conference and the demand for National Food Law regulations and procedures. Planned and Facilitated Rationales and Strategies for Global Food Regulations: WTO, SPS, trade agreements, African and Middle East national laws and Codex. Delivered lessons in Regulatory Compliance. Taught Inspection and Certification: Laboratory and education capacity in African and Middle East countries. Farm to Plate protocols. Sector HACCP. Delivered lessons in Food and Nutrition Labeling: International Requirements and demand for Labeling of Food Products.
  • Zaatarini, Inc. (5/2020 – 7/2020): Worked with The Good Thymes company in Lebanon to foster effective collaboration with this US importer, ensuring compliance with FDA guidelines and creating proper labeling for export.
  • Land O’Lakes, Lebanon (1/2020): Improved the overall nutritional fact labeling for commerce exports, ensuring compliance with FDA and Nutritional Fact Labeling guidelines. Lectured and facilitated workshops at the University of Notre Dame about the program. Instigated talks with the American University of Beirut for a partnership with MSU.
  • Land O’Lakes, Egypt (12/2019): Advised poultry, pickles, tea bag, and honey producers about Good Hygiene and Manufacturing Practices, HACCP, Codex Standards and FSMA guidelines. Taught a seminar for the Egypt Chamber of Food Industries about Food Contact Materials Definitions with an overview of US and EU regulations. 
  • CNFA, Zambia (11/2019): Trained farmers in cooperative governance and business management. Designed a one-page cash flow statement in the local language to allow farmers to determine costs and selling prices needed to produce profits. 
  • Partners of the Americas, Guatemala (10/2019): Created and developed bilingual packaging for a natural food product being sold in national and international markets. Leveraged knowledge of FSMA Final Rule on Foreign Supplier Verification Programs (FSVP) for Importers of Food and Country of Origin Labeling (COOL). 
  • Partners of the Americas, El Salvador (6/2019): Worked with the Divino Salvador Cooperative to build a strategic planning assessment and create coffee business plan focusing on entrepreneurial activities.
  • National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International, Senegal (1/2018): Focused on improving sustainable agribusiness using wholly organic methods. Coached on how to reduce and avoid mycotoxins and aflatoxin contamination in dry products.
  • Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, Prof. Anjali Capila, India (10/2017 – 12/2017): Researched the culture and traditional songs of the Dhol community that live on the banks of the Ganga from Uttarkashi to Haridwar. Collaborated with Dr. Vinod Verma from NOW, New Way Health Organization. 
  • CNFA, Liberia (1/2017-4/2017): Assessed the Laboratory Capacity, Food Safety and Codex Code of Practice (COP). Conducted Food Safety Conference for Liberian Agriculture Development Activity (LADA). Conducted FAO assessment of Liberia food safety laws and regulations for government, academia, food processors, and growers.
  • CNFA, Liberia (10/2016 – 12/2016): Conducted a USAID Organizational Capacity Assessment for Liberia Entrepreneurial and Asset Development (LEAD) and Liberia Ministry of Commerce. Led a training for soap makers to enhance sanitary conditions and food safety.
  • CNFA, Liberia (4/2016): USAID Organizational Capacity Assessment for partner BSC, Research with Cuttington University Graduate School of Public Health and the Ministry of Public Health and Social Welfare on the utilization of indigenous healers to provide collaboration in hygiene and food safety.
  • National Cooperative Business Association, CLUSA International, Senegal (3/2016 – 4/2016):  Led women’s entrepreneurship and business training including soap making training.
  • CNFA, Malawi (6/2015 – 7/2015): Worked on strategies to improve greenhouse management and Good Agriculture Practices for vegetables.
  • Coffee Farm to Cup, Rwanda (5/2015 – 6/2015): Advised the Kigali, Kizi, Huye, Musanze, and KayCo health clinics in Busoro. Examined women coffee growers and the effect of fair-trade coffee.
  • Catholic Relief Services, Ethiopia (8/2014 – 9/2014): Oversaw and improved vegetable production techniques at the Sebeta Getesemani Nunnery. Improved crop production technologies with new manuals. Taught locals correct and safe methods to make lye, and gave soap making courses. Helped in the installation of a drip irrigation system. Trained locals about organic production of pesticides.
  • CNFA, Mozambique (7/2014): Organized a strategic business and marketing development plan for the community, as well as the development and production of greenhouse vegetables.
  • National Cooperative Business Association, CLUSA International, Senegal (2/2014 – 3/2014): Assisted women in the production of soap, hair conditioners, and body scrubs utilizing only local products.
  • CNFA, Uganda (2013): Increased production at a bakery through the implementation of a business plan. Coordinated an agricultural college to teach locals how-to utilize farming equipment. Small Holder Agricultural Production and Marketing and Food Processing. Facilitated a women’s poultry project; started a dairy goat herd, coordination with Heifer Int’l. Taught enterprise selection, cost-benefit analysis, and recordkeeping skills to locals.
  • CNFA, Malawi (1/2013 -2/2013): Taught locals about production working capital cycle management.
  • CNFA, Kenya (9/2012): Led organizational change management training to improve the management, direction, and SMS implementation.
  • CNFA, Mozambique (3/2012 – 4/2012): Taught cooperative and entrepreneurship training. Led the creation of village savings and loans. Empowered women about value addition in soya businesses.
  • CNFA, Angola (5/2012 – 6/2012): Completed financial plan for village’s irrigation and agriculture production.      
  • CNFA, Angola (9/ 2011): Developed a new approach to horticulture and banana production within the village.  Supervised the administration of improvements to the coffee processing facility.          

Education

Master of Science, Food Safety | Master of Public Health

Michigan State University

Master of Science, International Business Administration

Central Michigan University

Bachelor of Science, Community Development

Central Michigan University

Certifications

ISO 22000 and FSSC 22000

HACCP Certification

FSSC Lead Auditor Certification

Michigan State University

International Food Law and Regulations (IFLR)

Michigan State University

curriculum vitae:

PATRICK VINCENT HEGARTY

Adjunct Professor, Global Food Law Program, College of Law, Michigan State University (MSU)

Professor and Founding Director Emeritus, Institute for Food Laws and Regulations, MSU. He was Chair, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, MSU 1989-1996. Since 1970 he held teaching, research and administrative positions at the universities of Minnesota, Houston and MSU.

education

B.Sc.     Biochemistry / Chemistry (Honours): National University of Ireland – Cork
M.Sc.    Biochemistry: National University of Ireland – Cork
Ph.D.    Human Nutrition: University of London, England
B.A.       Economics, Philosophy, History: National University of Ireland – Dublin

2006 Elected:     Fellow, International Academy of Food Science and Technology

2006    Elected:   Fellow, International Academy of Food Science and Technology

1997                       Honorary Alumni Award, Michigan State University

2009 – present    Consultant, international and US government agencies, foundations

2007- 2009:         USAID:  Team Leader:    Egypt:   Project – Food Safety Agency 

2004-2007:          United Arab Emirates University: Dean, College of Food and  Agriculture; and Consultant to Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA)

2003-2004           Zayed University, United Arab Emirates; Professor/Program Developer

1989-2003            Michigan State Univ. Department Chairman, Director, Professor Retired 2003

1982-1989             University of Houston, Texas:Department Chairman and Professor

1970-1982             University of Minnesota:  Professor, Associate Professor, Postdoctoral Fellow 

1966-1970             Agricultural Institute, Ireland: Senior Research Officer

Consultancies

  • World Health Organization (WHO)
  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations 
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • Foreign Agriculture Service / U.S. Department of Agriculture (FAS/USDA)
  • U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
  • Pew Charitable Trust (3-year Food Additive review)

Books

  • Decisions in Nutrition (1988). Times Mirror/Mosby College Publishing, St. Louis
  • Nutrition, Food and the Environment (1995) Eagan Press, St. Paul, MN
  • Food Contact Legislation in Global and Emerging Markets (2005), Pira International, UK
  • Food Contact Legislation in the BRIICS (Brazil, Russia, India, Indonesia, China, and South Africa) (2006) Pira International, UK

Scientific papers

  • Journal of Food Science, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Veterinary Record, Trends in Food Science & Technology, Pediatric Research, Food Technology
  • Trends in Food Science & Technology, Pediatric Research, Food Technology 

Awards

  • Fellow, International Academy of Food Science and Technology
  • Evans Medical Research Fellowship, University of London, England
  • All-university teaching excellence award at University of Minnesota and MSU