Office of Regulatory Science
Senior Policy Analyst
U.S. Food and Drug Administration
College Park, MD, USA
Field: Food Science
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “an estimated 76 million cases of foodborne disease occur each year in the United States.” This alarming statistic is what Reginald W. Bennett is trying to decrease as senior policy analyst for the Office of Regulatory Science of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which is responsible for protecting the public health. Within this government organization, he conducts research on and analyzes food involved in bacterial food poisoning. When asked to describe his duties, Mr. Bennett couldn’t help but to laugh when replying, “I can’t afford to run out of energy. Too many people are counting on me.” It is this light-heartedness in the face of grave responsibility that has kept his work refreshing and interesting after half a century.
More than 50 years ago, Reginald Bennett was sitting in class at the University of Pittsburgh, where he first gained knowledge of pathogens, and realized that he wanted a career in microbiology. Over the years, he has contributed his knowledge on food microbiology to each and every job. Starting as a medical bacteriologist for the Presbyterian Hospital of Pittsburgh, Mr. Bennett also served as a medical technologist and bacteriologist for Braddock General Hospital, a bacteriologist for the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, and an assistant professor of microbiology for Benedict University before becoming a microbiologist for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1960. His career vision statement, which reads “A good method renders more service to science than the elaboration of highly theoretical speculations,” reflects the philosophy that sound action and practice are the most effective tools in reaching a desirable outcome. In the future, he hopes to contribute to government regulations of food.
A member of the Institute of Food Technologists and the International Association for Food Protection, Mr. Bennett began his conquest of the field of microbiology in 1955 when he received a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology from the University of Pittsburgh. Three years later, he earned a Master of Science in Microbiology, also from the University of Pittsburgh. He is a Fellow of The American Society for Microbiology, the American Academy of Microbiology and the Association of Official Analytical Chemists International. Continue reading