Thermal Processing Professional Training Program 2016


David Anderson
Senior Science Advisor

David Anderson, a Senior Science Advisor at GMA, recently joined the association after a distinguished career with Pillsbury/Green Giant, Gerber, and most recently Del Monte/Big Heart Pet Brands. He is a recognized expert in thermal processing and validation, especially of low moisture foods, having presented on these topics globally to both industry and regulatory audiences. He is on the Board of the Institute for Thermal Processing  Specialists and previously chaired GMA’s processing committee.

Karina Martino, Ph.D.
Specialist, Thermal Processing

Dr. Karina Martino is the latest addition to GMA's processing group where she assists members with food safety and processing needs.  Prior to joining GMA, Karina worked as an independent food safety consultant, advising clients on HACCP, food processing (especially for acidified foods), regulatory compliance, and product development. She was also an assistant professor and extension specialist at the University of Georgia Food Science and Technology Department.  A native of Paraguay, Karina got her MS and PhD in Biosystems Engineering from Michigan State University.

Chris Balestrini
Senior Scientist, Processing Technologies

Chris provides practical thermal processing expertise to GMA members in a wide array of package and retort systems. Chris Balestrini has served as a senior scientist, processing technologies at GMA since March of 2005.

Mr. Balestrini is a 1988 graduate of The Pennsylvania State University. Prior to joining GMA, he was employed at ConAgra Foods (formerly International Home Foods; American Home Foods) for more than 15 years as a corporate process authority. In this capacity, he was responsible for the development of process schedules, process deviation evaluations, critical factor control, new technology evaluation, process engineering, and commissioning new retort systems.

Mr. Balestrini has been a member of the Institute of Thermal Processing Specialists since 1990.

Richard Podolak, Ph.D.
Senior Scientist, Processing Technologies

Richard assists GMA members with thermal processing recommendations for acidified, water activity controlled food products, process cheese products, food safety and sanitation issues. Dr. Podolak is also an instructor for Better Process Control Schools, the workshop on thermobacteriology and the workshop on thermal processing of acidified foods for FDA inspectors.

Prior to joining GMA in 2004, he worked for the USDA/ARS where he was involved with researching hydrodynamic pressure processing to control pathogens in meat. Richard also served as a senior scientist at the research and development department of a food ingredient company in Wisconsin for more than five years. There he developed microbial starter cultures, antimicrobial agents for meat products and significantly reduced the cost of production through process optimization. He has published numerous articles in scientific journals on the subject of pathogenic bacteria control in food products, especially meat.

Dr. Podolak earned his Ph.D. in food science from Kansas State University.