Food Safety Magazine

Solutions On Demand | August/September 2013

Helping Food Safety Agencies Implement Change

By Thermo

Helping Food Safety Agencies Implement Change

“Comfortable and confident” is how Jim Chang, Ph.D., wants his customers to feel when working with him to implement methods on high-resolution mass spectrometers. For the past 10 years, Dr. Chang has worked for Thermo Fisher Scientific as a Senior Application Specialist whose focus is to support government agencies involved in food safety. He is currently working with six different agencies in the Americas and Asia, and he believes these agencies face a unique challenge. On one hand, their responsibility to safeguard the public means that they are always looking for better approaches. He states, “Working with them is like a big research project; it is very interesting and fun from a scientific perspective.” On the other hand, Chang points out that implementing new technology is not easy for these agencies because their actions can potentially affect public health and safety. Although the agencies may be motivated to experiment with new technologies and techniques, adopting a change involves a great deal of testing and validation to prove that a new approach is reliable.

One thing his customers can always rely upon is Dr. Chang’s analytical skill set. Chang joined Thermo Fisher with more than 30 years of experience in environmental laboratories, where he gained skills in application development using EI, CI, MS/MS, MSn , LC-MS, ultrafast GC, 2D GC and HPLC. Since joining Thermo Fisher, he has also learned LC-MS/MS and high-resolution Orbitrap technology, and he prides himself on being able to operate all of this analytical instrumentation. According to Dr. Chang, the scientists he works with are true experts in their field of study, and his job is to ensure that those experts can fully utilize their knowledge to quickly develop methods on Thermo Scientific™ instrumentation. His past experience in a regulatory environment facilitates this effort, as he also has expertise in ISO 17025 and GLP programs. Technical expertise aside, Dr. Chang feels the past experience that has helped him most in his current position is as a lab director within various organizations. Satisfying the needs of the customer was the highest priority in those jobs, and Chang has maintained that same frame of mind while helping food safety agencies.

When asked how his work contributes to customers outside of the regulatory environment and the greater challenge of food safety, Dr. Chang comments, “What I do while working closely with regulatory agencies is directly applicable to others because the methods that are being developed will be published for everyone to utilize. In fact, by utilizing these methods, contract test labs and producers can be confident in their ability to achieve reliable, defensible results that meet regulatory requirements.”