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Courtney Parker has joined Chiquita Brands International, Inc. as VP of food safety and quality.
In her new role, Parker will have responsibility for the Charlotte, N.C.-based company’s Fresh Express salad quality assurance and quality control programs, as well as global responsibility to serve as Chiquita’s primary liaison to regulatory agencies and other industry stakeholders, coordinating cross-functionally for the company’s bananas and salads business units.
“Courtney is highly regarded and respected by all stakeholders across the fresh produce industry,” said Brian W. Kocher, Chiquita’s COO. “We are confident that her extensive operational experience, coupled with her scientific background and understanding of our commitment to food safety and quality will help us deliver superior product quality consistently at the shelf.”
Most recently, Parker served as head of quality assurance, food safety and regulatory affairs for Church Brothers and True Leaf Farms, and also acted as senior scientific advisor to their sister company, Gills Onions, providing the strategic vision and technical guidance for its quality, food safety and sanitary standards and practices.
Previously, Parker served more than seven years with Chiquita/Fresh Express as a senior food safety and microbiology manager, specializing in the development and implementation of quality policies and regulatory compliance programs. She has been a member of or contributor to a number of technical and strategic industry committees such as the California Leafy Greens Marketing Association, GMA, United Fresh and the International Association of Food Protection.
In addition, James R. Lugg, a pioneer in the fresh produce industry who has served in senior leadership roles at Fresh Express, Chiquita and with numerous industry advisory groups, will continue to provide counsel as part of the quality and food safety organization and support Parker’s transition.
Parker received a Ph.D. in microbiology from the University of California, Davis and B.S. in microbiology from California Polytechnic State University. She was a post doctoral fellow at USDA’s Agricultural Research Service and has been published in numerous scientific journals.
With annual revenues of more than $3 billion, Chiquita employs approximately 20,000 people and has operations in approximately 70 countries worldwide.