Paul L. Knechtges

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Paul L. Knechtges is a retired U.S. Navy Environmental Health Officer and former Science and Technology Director of the U.S. Army Center for Environmental Health Research at Fort Detrick, MD. Since 2006, he has taught graduate level courses in food safety and other environmental health subjects at East Carolina University, where he holds appointments in the Department of Health Education and Promotion and the Department of Public Health. His military assignments involved food safety and other environmental health responsibilities, including disease outbreak investigation and control, at military installations in the U.S. and overseas. As a senior Naval Officer, he was the Research Area Manager for Environmental and Occupational Medicine with the Office of Naval Research. His Army civilian career involved directing intramural and extramural R&D in environmental health. Dr. Knechtges has a BS from East Carolina University, MS from George Washington University, and PhD from George Mason University. He has been a member of the National Environmental Health Association for over 30 years and is author of a textbook on food safety published by Jones Bartlett Learning.

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The safety of our food supply is dependent on a core group of professionals at the federal, state and local levels of government, as well as professionals working in the food industry. Ironically, despite its importance, we have incomplete knowledge about the food safety workforce in the United States. In fact, although studies are supposedly ongoing, we do not even know how many people work as food safety professionals. Perhaps we should start by defining…