September 30, 2016

Women’s History Month: FDA Spotlights Food Safety Pioneer Ruth Lamb

Ruth deForest Lamb was the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) first Chief Educational Officer and author of the book American Chamber of Horrors, which was a call to action for food safety reform. A graduate of Vassar College’s class of 1918, she  worked in advertising as a copyrighter before she joining the agency. Her accomplishments as a food safety pioneer are being spotlighted by the FDA during Women’s History Month. In 1935, Arthur Kallet and Frederick Schlink, founders of Consumer’s Research and Consumer’s Union, published in a book that heavily criticized the FDA for failing to protect consumers from misbranded and dangerous food, frug and cosmetic products. The book was called 100,000,000 Guinea Pigs: Dangers in Everyday Foods, Drugs, and Cosmetics. The FDA … [Read more...]

Women’s History Month: FDA Spotlights Food Safety Pioneer Effie Alberta Read

Effie Alberta Read earned a Ph.D. and a M.D. before American women earned the right to vote. She was among the best trained analysts when she joined the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1907. And one of the only women in the agency’s Bureau of Chemistry.  Her accomplishments as  a food safety pioneer are being spotlighted by the FDA during Women’s History Month. Read earned her Bachelor’s (1903), Master’s (1906), and Ph. D. (1907) degrees from Cornell University. She wrote her Ph.D. dissertation on “the olfactory apparatus in dog, cat and man” and taught histology and embryology while pursuing her graduate degrees. Five years after she joined the FDA,  she earned her M.D. from George Washington University. “Although Dr. Read did not publish widely, she dedicated herself … [Read more...]

Women’s History Month: FDA Spotlights Food Safety Pioneer Mattie Rae Spivey Fox

During her 28-year career at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) , Mattie Rae Spivey Fox  authored 100 scholarly papers, and earned the agency’s highest distinction, the FDA Award of Merit. Her work for the agency, which began in 1962, focussed on essential minerals and toxic elements, and the roles they play in metabolism and nutrition. Her accomplishments as a food safety pioneer are being spotlighted by the FDA during Women’s History Month. Fox earned her bachelor’s degree with an emphasis in chemistry from Texas Women’s University in Denton, Texas, in 1943, her M.S. from Iowa State University and her Ph. D. in biochemistry at George Washington University in 1953. Before joining the FDA, Fox worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the National Institutes of … [Read more...]

Women’s History Month: FDA Spotlights Food Safety Pioneer Mary Engle Pennington

Mary Engle Pennington was the first female lab chief of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Her research “helped revolutionize the food supply, making more safe, fresh foods available at affordable prices, particularly in newly industrialized areas of the country,” according to the agency, which is spotlighting her career for Women’s History Month. Born in 1872, she studied chemistry and biology at the Towne Scientific School at the University of Pennsylvania. At that time the school did not award B.A. degrees to women, so upon completing her coursework she instead received a "certificate of proficiency." In 18995, she earned a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, which had become one of the only schools in the country to grant such degrees to women. Unable to find … [Read more...]

Women’s History Month: FDA Spotlights Food Safety Pioneer Imogene Gollinger

Imogene Gollinger was a high school science teacher before she became the first female to be hired as a field inspector for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1965. Her accomplishments as a food safety pioneer are being spotlighted by the FDA during Women’s History Month. Arriving for her first day of work wearing a hat and white gloves, Gollinger was handed some coveralls. Cut for man, they were deemed too revealing from the side and had to be altered, the sides sewn shut, before she could go out on the job, according to the agency. Once on the job, Gollinger bought a shopping cart to help her carry the heavy equipment. Initially, her male coworkers made fun of her, but many of them eventually followed suit. In 2000, when she was asked about her early days with the … [Read more...]

Women’s History Month: FDA Spotlights Food Safety Pioneer Jane Henney

In 1999, more than half of all employees of the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) were women. Still, no woman had ever held the agency’s top spot until President Clinton nominated Jane Henney, M.D. as commissioner that year. Her accomplishments as a food safety pioneer are being spotlighted by the FDA during Women’s History Month. Born and raised in the smallest city in Indiana: Woodburn, population 512. In her biography on the National Institutes of Health website, Henney  says her inspiration was Woodburn’s doctor. “We were lucky enough to have a family doctor in my hometown - everybody knew Dr. Moser and loved him. He fit the stereotype small town doctor. We went to his house where he had his office and all of his medicines... Probably my first memory of thinking about medicine … [Read more...]

Women’s History Month: Food Safety Pioneer Julie Gerberding First Female To Lead CDC

March is Women's History month.  As the month draws to a close, Food Poisoning Bulletin is taking a look at the careers of  some female food safety pioneers. Pioneer is kind of a strange word to describe a living woman in her mid 50s,  but Julie Gerberding, M.D., M.P.H.  is just that. In 2002, she became the first female director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and administrator for the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). An infectious disease expert who worked on the CDC's  counter terrorism initiative, Gerberding played a major role in the CDC's response to the anthrax attack of 2001.  Five people were killed and 17 others were injured when letters containing deadly anthrax spores were mailed to members of Congress. "The events of last … [Read more...]

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