Mr. Steve McDermott

Mr. McDermott served 35 years with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in both the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) and the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). As Assistant to the Chief of Meat Grading, his responsibilities included resolving grading and certification. Following 10 years with AMS, Mr. McDermott spent the next 25 years working in a variety of FSIS program areas.

As Senior Director of the Office of International Affairs in FSIS, Mr. McDermott provided guidance to staff officers in equivalence determinations. He was the lead in conducting on-site equivalence audits of foreign food safety systems, and provided assistance to foreign governments – including foreign embassy personnel stationed in Washington, DC – exporting meat, poultry, and egg products to the U.S. Mr. McDermott led FSIS in consultations with other U.S. government agencies and trade associations, and negotiations with foreign meat and poultry industry representatives and foreign governments concerning imports and exports of meat, poultry, and egg products. He provided technical assistance to resolve food safety and equivalency issues. Mr. McDermott also provided import and export strategies regarding foreign food safety systems to top USDA officials.

Mr. McDermott received his BS in Animal Science from the University of Florida (UF) and also completed post-graduate studies in Meat Science from UF. In addition, following two years of a science-based course curriculum at St. Petersburg College, he received certification from the State of Florida as a Veterinary Technician.


Mr. Leonard Lang

Mr. Lang retired with over 30 years of experience with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). He has extensive experience with both the domestic and imported meat, poultry, and egg industries. Mr. Lang has worked closely with the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) during his career.

While working at FSIS, Mr. Lang contributed to the development of many important programs including the CBP Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) System, the FSIS Public Health Information System, the FSIS Test and Hold policy, the FSIS Import Sampling Program, and APHIS e-permits for FSIS & FDA imported products.

Since retiring from FSIS, Mr. Lang has worked as a consultant representing importers, import establishments, and brokers. He has successfully represented his clients on issues with FSIS, FDA, CBP, and APHIS, resolving regulatory and enforcement issues associated with imported products.


Mr. Andrew Lorenz

Mr. Lorenz served as a Deputy District Manager, Front Line Supervisor, and Enforcement, Investigations and Analysis Officer with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) from 1999 to 2012. He also served as a Public Health Sanitarian with the Poplar Bluff Health Department in Missouri, and as a senior Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO)Veterinary Food Inspector with the U.S. Army.

Mr. Lorenz’s education is focused on food technology/food safety and leadership, having graduated from the Academy of Health Science in San Antonio, Texas, and the Army Advanced NCO Officer course. He also has attended a variety of colleges throughout his 24 year career. Mr. Lorenz is co-founder of “We R Food Safety”, providing food safety and HACCP consulting services.


Mr. Patrick Burke

Mr. Burke completed 28 years of service with the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), retiring in 2013. During that time, he held many positions throughout the Agency, including Director of the Industrial Engineering and Ergonomics Staff.

As a Senior Staff Officer of the New Technology Staff, Mr. Burke trained FSIS inspection personnel in the Public Health Information System (PHIS), and developed the procedure for reviewing new technology submissions to FSIS. Among his many accomplishments, Mr. Burke, developed and supervised the establishment of cattle, swine, chicken, turkey and duck slaughter line speeds for FSIS. He also developed and supervised the establishment of processed products work measurement standards used for FSIS staffing, developed the processed products indirect labor allowance equation, and developed and supervised the establishment of an import inspection simulation model for FSIS.

Included in his representations of FSIS, Mr. Burke presented and defended FSIS policy at labor union negotiations, presented and defended FSIS’ irradiation position to the public, presented FSIS policies and interests in foreign countries such as Yugoslavia and China, and presented the ergonomic relationship between poultry line speeds and federal inspection personnel safety to the U.S. Congress.

Mr. Burke received his MA degree from George Mason University in 2007, and his BS in Industrial Engineering from Millikin University in 1973.


Mr. L. Victor Cook

Mr. Cook served for 35 years in various scientific roles with the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS).

For 20 years, Mr. Cook worked as a Microbiologist in the FSIS laboratory program, conducting specialized analyses for detecting and identifying a broad variety of foodborne pathogens and microbial toxins, analyses for animal tissue species identification, and microbiological and serological analyses for antibiotic residues. He was a pioneer at FSIS in implementing molecular detection, identification and subtyping methods for foodborne pathogens. Mr. Cook made significant refinements to FSIS testing methods for Listeria monocytogenes and E. coli O157:H7. He led the FSIS implementation of Pulsed Field Gel Electrophoresis (PFGE) for subtyping foodborne pathogens, and partnered with The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other federal and state agencies to implement the PulseNet program for identifying foodborne pathogen outbreak clusters.

For the following 15 years, Mr. Cook served at FSIS Headquarters in Washington D.C. He developed criteria for evaluating non-FSIS microbiological sampling and testing methods for equivalence to corresponding FSIS methods. He developed an audit process and criteria for evaluating the equivalence of microbiological food safety testing programs used by international trading partners and, in collaboration with the FSIS Office of International Affairs, provided scientific leadership for numerous international audits, assessments and outreach/training efforts. As Chief of the Microbiological Issues Branch, Mr. Cook and his staff provided scientific expertise to FSIS for public health investigations, domestic/international policy and program development, and scientific outreach to the public health community.

Mr. Cook has a Masters of Science in Medical Microbiology with focus on Molecular Biology and Biotechnology from the University of Georgia.


Dr. Jim Edwards

Dr. Edwards is currently the Managing Director of World Veterinary Consultants, an international veterinary consultancy. He has developed a wide network of contacts, strong communication skills, and because of his Veterinary Association roles he has a high international profile.

He was previously the National Manager of International Animal Trade in the New Zealand Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) Biosecurity Authority. This was built upon a solid foundation of 14 years in rural veterinary practice working extensively with sheep, cattle, horses and deer, before joining the Ministry of Agriculture in 1986.

Dr. Edwards is Past-President of the World Veterinary Association (WVA); Federation of Asian Veterinary Associations (FAVA); New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA). His website is: “World Veterinary Consultants”.


Mr. Martin E. O’Connor

Mr. O’Connor is retired from the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service where he provided senior executive leadership through the specialized development and direction of a nationwide U.S. standards program. His expertise encompasses the development and management of grade standards (including instrument grading technology), voluntary marketing claims (e.g., branded beef, verified tender, grass fed and source verification), meat purchase specifications (i.e., Institutional Meat Purchase Specifications and Federal Feeding and Nutritional Assistance meat and aquatic requirements), and Country of Origin Labeling programs.

Mr. O’Connor possesses extensive knowledge of international market assessment, development, and market access programs, having provided services for multiple countries in Asia, Europe, and South America. He is currently President and CEO of O’Connor Consulting and Management, Inc.


Dr. Michael Gilsdorf

During his 33 year career in the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Dr. Michael Gilsdorf worked within its five major components. Among the positions in which he served were the Director of the National Center for Animal Health Programs; Director of Ruminant Health Programs; Director of Surveillance and Disease Eradication; Chief of the National Animal Health Programs Staff; and as Senior Staff Veterinarian on the Export Animal Staff. Dr. Gilsdorf retired from APHIS Veterinary Services and International Services in 2007.

Among Dr. Gilsdorf’s responsibilities were supervision over 1) Field Operations as a Veterinary Medical Officer, 2) Area Veterinarian in charge of all federal animal health and animal welfare programs within the state; 3) Animal Resource Veterinarian at the National Veterinary Services Laboratory responsible for care and handling of laboratory animals for both diagnostics and biologics testing; 4) Headquarters staff officer – including Import products staff veterinarian, Cattle Diseases Senior Staff Veterinarian, and National Brucellosis Epidemiologist, and 5) Agency representative on International Assignments involving Foot and Mouth Disease, Screwworm eradication, and plant pests.

Dr. Gilsdorf is now the Chief Consultant at International Animal Health Solutions, LLC. Utilizing his extensive experience, he provides assistance on domestic and international issues of regulatory compliance in animal health; management of national, and local animal health programs; import/export equivalence requirements for animals and animal products; humane handling; animal disease control and eradication methods; development and implementation of animal disease surveillance systems; and international trade negotiations. Dr. Gilsdorf received the degree of Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Kansas State University, and a Master of Veterinary Microbiology from Iowa State University.

Dr. Gilsdorf may be contacted at:
Phone 410 440 0060

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