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Chiquita appoints Courtney Parker as VP of food safety and quality

Chiquita Brands International, Inc. announced the appointment of Courtney Parker as vice president of food safety and quality.

Parker will have responsibility for Chiquita’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-ParkerCourtney Parker“Courtney is highly regarded and respected by all stakeholders across the fresh produce industry,” Brian W. Kocher, Chiquita’s chief operating officer, said in a press release. “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 Bros. 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 a bachelor's degree 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.