Meet your FreshEd Academy Instructors

"This exclusive course picks up where FSMA training leaves off."

Robert J. Whitaker, Ph.D.

Former Chief Science & Technology Officer


Dr. Bob Whitaker joined the Produce Marketing Association in 2008 as Chief Science & Technology Officer, responsible for food safety, technology, supply chain management and sustainability and retired in January 2020. Bob served on the Center for Produce Safety (CPS) Board of Directors and Executive Committee since its founding in 2007 and was the first chair of the CPS technical committee (2008-2013).   


Prior to PMA, Bob spent 16 years in the biotechnology field with DNA Plant Technology Corporation (DNAP) as a researcher and finally as Vice President for Fruit and Vegetable Research and Development. After DNAP, Bob worked 10 years at NewStar Fresh Foods and its subsidiary, MissionStar Processing, in food safety, product development and as Vice President of Process Operations. 


Actively involved in produce association activities, Bob has served as a volunteer leader for several national and regional industry trade groups including lending his expertise to the development of the leafy greens GAP (good agricultural practices) metrics and serving on the California Leafy Greens Technical Committee during its formative years. Bob has been honored by several groups for technical achievement and leadership including: International Fresh-cut Processors’ Association (IFPA) Technical Achievement Award (2006), U.S. Department of Agriculture National Advisory Committee on Microbial Criteria for Foods committee member (2013), NSF Food Safety Leadership (2015), CPS Leadership (2015) and National Academies of Science Genetically Engineered Crops Review panel (2016).  Bob holds a doctorate in biology from the State University of New York at Binghamton. 

"This exclusive course picks up where FSMA training leaves off."

Afreen Malik

Director of Technical Services 

Afreen is the Director of Technical Services at International Food Safety and Quality Services (IFSQS), a consulting firm that helps companies produce safe foods. IFSQS provides hands-on, practical, science-based food safety, quality, and environmental sustainability support rooted in 20 years of experience in the food and agriculture sectors.  


Before consulting, Afreen worked with Ocean Mist Farms, Calavo Growers, and the California Department of Food and Agriculture. She has degrees in Environmental and Biological Sciences. Afreen is fluent in English, Urdu, Hindi, and Spanish. 


She lives on the Central Coast of California with her husband, the writer Ayaz Pirani, and their dog, the mischief-maker Kona.

"Learn from the industry's top leaders in Produce Safety."

Max Teplitski, PH.D.

Chief Science Officer 

Dr. Max Teplitski joined PMA in 2020 as Chief Science Officer, responsible for produce safety, technology, supply chain management and sustainability, and leading a growing team of experts in these areas. He brings a wealth of experience in leading national food safety and nutrition programs, building and sustaining private-public partnerships, and globally recognized accomplishments in science and scientific policy bolstered by a rich research background in microbiology, biotechnology and sustainability of agricultural production.  


Prior to PMA, Dr. Teplitski served as the Acting Director for the divisions of food safety and nutrition at the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). In this role, he oversaw NIFA's investment into research programs in food safety, human nutrition and health, novel foods and manufacturing technologies, as well as programs that deliver customized FSMA training, incentivize purchase of fruits and vegetables among low-income consumers, increase self-reliance of communities in providing for their food needs, and promote access to local food. For over a decade as a faculty member at the University of Florida, he led a research program focused on food safety, public and environmental health, and agricultural crop production, and has contributed to industry research through the Center for Produce Safety (CPS).