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Bruce Tompkin

Adjunct Industry Professor, Food Science and Nutrition



PhD in Food Microbiology,Ohio State University
MS Food Microbiology
BS Zoology


FST 531 HACCP Planning and Implementation


Bruce 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. He has contributed more than 175 publications, presentations and 30 book chapters. Bruce was a member of the US National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods for 10 years and the International Commission on Microbiological Specifications for Foods for 20 years, serving as a consultant to the Commission for an additional 7 years. He helped define the principles of HACCP, the concept of a food safety objective, the role of microbiological testing in food safety management systems and the significance of harborage sites as a source of Salmonella and Listeria in food operations.  He retired from ConAgra in 2002 and continues to promote food safety through participation on committees and other means.

Industry Title 

Retired from VP-Food Safety ConAgra Foods