Press Releases

State Ag Dept. Names New Chief Regulator for TN Food, Dairy Processors

Press Release from the State of Tennessee, March 30, 2012:

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Department of Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson on March 30 announced the appointment of dairy industry veteran, William Thompson, as food manufacturing administrator.

“Bill will be able to look at food safety issues from a business perspective as well as a public health perspective,” Johnson said. “We are pleased to have someone with his experience joining the department.”

Thompson officially assumed his new duties on March 19. He replaced former food manufacturing administrator, John Sanford, who retired after 35 years of dedicating his career to food safety.

As food manufacturing administrator, Thompson’s duties will include reviewing food and dairy manufacturing processors and processes for compliance with current laws and regulations.

This includes identifying hazards that could potentially cause contamination of food or food products. In addition, he trains and advises food and dairy inspectors as well as industry personnel in areas of food safety regulations and guidelines, inspection techniques, processing equipment engineering, manufacturing and assessment and in-house water supply safety.

Thompson has more than 30 years experience in various dairy industry positions. He spent the last five years working for Dean Foods, has worked as director of operations for La Quesera Mexicana in Greeneville, Tenn. and was also a quality assurance manager for an ice cream facility in Alabama, just to name a few.

“I have worked closely with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture in my industry experience and it has been a career goal to work for the department,” Thompson said. “It was an honor just to be considered for the position of food manufacturing administrator. I am thrilled at the opportunity to be a part of a program that is so well respected.”

The TDA’s Regulatory Services Division works to ensure a safe food supply for the people of Tennessee by inspecting dairy farms, plants, milk transport trucks, dairy and trade product distributors and milk samplers and registers dairy products. The division also licenses and inspects retail food stores, food manufacturers, warehouses and distributors. In 2011, the TDA inspected 6,508 retail establishments, 1,205 food manufacturers, 551 food warehouses, 439 dairy farms and 26 dairy processing facilities.