Dr. Ruth Petran is vice president of Food Safety and Public Health for Ecolab Inc., the global leader in water, hygiene and energy technologies and services that protect people and vital resources.
In her current role, Dr. Petran provides technical expertise and consultation to internal and external customers on food safety and public health issues, by identifying and tracking emerging food safety trends and new control strategies. To be most impactful, these span the food supply chain from farm to manufacturing processes and to food service and retail.
Prior to joining Ecolab, Dr. Petran was a research microbiologist and supplier quality manager at Pillsbury, as well as specifications manager and quality regulations operations product manager at General Mills. She focused on managing safety and quality concerns of microbiologically sensitive products and ingredients. She has led food safety assessments at food manufacturing facilities worldwide, focusing on the application of HACCP systems and regulatory compliance.
Dr. Petran is a certified food scientist and has served two terms on the National Advisory Committee for the Microbiological Criteria for Foods and chairs the Minnesota Food Safety and Defence Task Force. She is an active member of the International Association for Food Protection and their Committee on Control of Foodborne Illness. Dr. Petran also is a member of the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) and, in addition to serving on awards committees, has been active in the IFT-Food Microbiology Division. She chairs the Minnesota Food Safety and Defence Task Force, and has advised the Minnesota Departments of Health and Agriculture on needed revisions to the state’s food code.
Dr. Petran has worked with the Food Products Association (FPA, now GMA), advising on development of the SAFE Supplier Auditing programme and is a recognized HACCP instructor in Ecolab’s Advanced HACCP course, which is accredited by the International HACCP Alliance.
Dr. Petran has a bachelor’s degree in Consumer Food Science from Cornell University, a master’s degree in Food Science from the University of Minnesota, and a doctorate in Public Health from the University of Minnesota. Her thesis focused on the value of leveraging data from health department inspections to improve food safety.