Martha Roberts, PhD

Martha Rhodes RobertsCurrently, Special Assistant to Director of the Office of Governmental Affairs, University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Science and head of Roberts Associates. Former Deputy Commissioner of Agriculture for State of Florida 1991-2003, Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, and Assistant Commissioner of Agriculture (1st woman in the U.S.) from 1984-1991.

Honored as Distinguished Service recipient by College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, University of Florida in 2004, inducted into the Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame in 2003, served as Chairman of the 48 party Suwannee River Partnership from 1999-2003, Past President, Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO), Past Chairman, Conference for Food Protection and other professional societies. Served on advisory groups for FDA (Microbiological Criteria for Foods 1988-94, Food Advisory Committee 1993-97), USDA, state, and industry, served as co-chair of the Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Committee for the Mexico/US Gulf of Mexico States Accord, received the FDA Commissioner’s Special Citation from FDA Commissioner McClellan in May 2003 for outstanding leadership and cooperative support of joint regulatory responsibilities in advancing food safety and enhancing the public health mandate, and received the USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Administrator of the Year Award in 2003. Past Chair of Government Relations. Past Chair of Public Policy and Regulatory Outreach Panel, Past Chair, Institute of Food Technologists’ Foundation Feeding Tomorrow, and participant on numerous federal committees and panels and recipient of many government, industry and national awards. Serves as private consultant in food safety, government relations and agricultural environmental areas. Roberts received her doctorate in Microbiology from the University of Georgia and completed postdoctoral studies in public health. She currently serves on various state and national advisory committees, is an elected member of the Farm Foundation, participant in Food Foresight, a trends analysis group focusing on future developments and strategies in foods and agriculture with Nuffer, Smith Tucker and the California Institute of Food and Agricultural Research (CIFAR/UCDavis), member of the Institute of Medicine (IOM/NAS) panel on FDA's role in ensuring food safety and on the Executive Committee and Technical Committee for the Center for Produce Safety at UC Davis.

What do you feel you can contribute to the growth and advancement of IFT?
IFT is a preeminent scientific society through which service and support of all in food science worldwide can be offered and administered.  Through my knowledge of organizational efficiencies, government, industry and scientific relations, international experiences and through my commitment to advancement of food science, I feel I can provide personal leadership and service to my fellow food science professionals and IFT members.  As a member of the Nominations and Elections committee my goal is to find extraordinary and exemplary leaders to guide IFT into the future.

Formal Education 
Postdoctoral, 1965-67, Public Health, University of Georgia
PhD, 1965, Microbiology, University of Georgia
MS, 1961, Microbiology, University of Georgia
BS Summa cum Laud, 1960, Biology, North Georgia College – now North Georgia University

Career History

Roberts Associates President & Consultant on Ag & Food Policy & Food Safety 2003-Present
UF/IFAS Spec Asst to Director, Government Affairs 2012-Present
UF/IFAS Spec Asst to Dean for Research 2009-2012
UF/IFAS Director Industry Relations & Senior Fellow International Ag & Trace Center 2003-2008
FDACS Deputy Commissioner 1991-2003
FDACS Assistant Commissioner of Agriculture/State of Florida
(First woman in US) 1984-1991
Florida Dept of Agriculture & Consumer Services Microbiologist, Bureau Chief, Food Laboratories 1968-1984

Leadership Experience

  • IFT 2011 Strategic Retreat Participant Member 2011-2012
  • Website Tester Member 2010
  • IFT Board Of Directors Foundation Board Representative 2009-2012
  • Feeding Tomorrow Board of Trustees Chair 2009-2012
  • Public Policy & Regulatory Outreach Implementation Task Force Member 2009-2010
  • Institute of Medicine/National Academy of Sciences Panel Member 2009-2010
  • IFT Big Onion (Website) Contributor Member 2009
  • Science & Policy Reviewer Reviewer 2009
  • IFT Audit Committee Member 2008-Present
  • IFT Congressional Support Science Award Jury Member 2008-2009
  • Public Policy & Regulatory Outreach Advisory Panel Chair 2008-2009
  • IFT Congressional Support Science Award Jury Member 2005-2006
  • IFT Management Committee on Science, Communications, & Government Relations Chair, Govt. Relations 2005-2006
  • Florida Ag Institute Board of Trustees 2005-2006
  • IFT Government Relations Committee Chair-Designate, Chair, Past Chair 2004-2007
  • Florida State University Invited Participant in Research Project on Adaptive Governance and Water Conflicts in Florida 2004-2006
  • University of Florida International Trade and Policy Center, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences 2003-2004
  • Suwannee Partnership Co-Chairman 2003-2003
  • Farm Foundation Steering Committee 2002-2004
  • Florida Food Safety & Food Security Task Force Member 2002
  • Governor's Gulf of Mexico States Accord Co-Chair of Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries 2001-2003
  • NASDA/USDA/APHIS Review panel Safeguard Animal Health Review 2000-2001
  • Southern Governor's Association Agricultural Group Member 2000
  • IFT Science Advisory Committee on Federal Contracts 1999
  • Farm Foundation Bennett Agricultural Roundtable 1997
  • Food Forecast Blue Ribbon Panel 1996
  • National Live Stock and Meat Board Blue Ribbon Task Force 1995
  • American Gastroenterological Association Consensus Panel on E-coli 0157:H7 Infections: An Emerging National Health Crisis 1994
  • Food Foresight Food Foresight 25 member - food trends analysis group begun by Nuffer Smith Tucker and CIFAR 1992-Present
  • US FDA Food Advisory Committee 1992-1996
  • Agribusiness Institute of Florida Member 1991-1998
  • University of Florida Advisory Committee for Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition 1989-1993
  • National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods Member 1988-1994
  • US Chamber of Commerce Scientific Advisory Group on Food Integrity 1988-1992
  • Conference for Food Protection Chair 1988
  • Florida Forestry Forum Future of Forestry 1988
  • National Sanitation Foundation Council of Public Health Consultants 1984 1993
  • Association of Food and Drug Officials President 1983-1984
  • Association of Food and Drug Officials President-Elect 1982-1983
  • Association of Food and Drug Officials Vice President 1981-1982
  • SE American Society for Microbiology President 1981-1982
  • Association of Food and Drug Officials Chairman, Science & Technology 1979-1981
  • Association of Food and Drug Officials Chairman, Nominating Committee 1979-1980
  • Association of Food and Drug Officials Program Committee 1978-1980
  • Association of Food and Drug Officials of Southern States President 1978-1979
  • Association of Food and Drug Officials Vice Chairman, Education & Training Committee 1977-1979
  • Association of Food and Drug Officials of Southern States Vice President 1977-1978
  • Association of Food and Drug Officials of Southern States Board of Directors, Executive Committee, Chairman, Technical Committee 1975-1980
  • USDA Microbiology Subcommittee of the Meat & Poultry Inspection Laboratory Committee 1970-1972

Professional and Community Recognition

  • College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, University of Florida, Distinguished Service Award, October, 2004
  • Florida Strawberry Growers’ Association Merit Award, 2004
  • Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame – inducted February 2003
  • Food & Drug Commissioner’s Special Citation, May 2003, For outstanding leadership advancing food safety and enhancing the Public health mandate of the Food and Drug Administration
  • Chairman, International Information Subcommittee – National Safeguarding Animal Health Report for USDA – NASDA Research Foundation
  • Florida Tomato Committee, 2002, in appreciation for extraordinary dedication and commitment to the Florida Tomato Industry
  • 2003 Women’s History Month Award – Tallahassee Community College, Women Pioneering the Future Award in Our Community
  • Noah’s Helper Award – Humane Society of the U.S. and the Florida State, Emergency Response Team for outstanding contribution in providing the inclusion of animals in emergency plans in Florida & nationwide
  • Florida Cattlemen’s Association, 2003, for career devoted to the Florida Cattle Industry
  • P.R. Edwards Award,1979, Southeastern Branch, American Society for Microbiology
  • Diamond Jubilee Award, recognition of Outstanding Abilities and Competence in Administration and Enforcement of Food and Drug Law and the Leadership and Guidance Provided to Fellow Workers. Presented in 1981 in Commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the Enactment of the Federal Pure Food and Drug Law by the Association of Food and Drug Officials and The Association of Food and Drug Officials of the Southern States  
  • National Association of State Departments of Agriculture Honor Award, 1984, For Outstanding Accomplishments in Regulatory Work
  • Eugene H. Holeman Meritorious Service Award, 1985, Association of Food & Drug Officials of Southern States
  • Recognition Award, North Dade Chamber of Commerce, 1986-87
  • Harvey W. Wiley Award, Association of Food and Drug Officials, 1988
  • Distinguished Service Award, Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, 1988
  • Distinguished Service Award, Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association, 1990
  • National Environmental Leadership Award, National Sanitation Foundation, 1990  For statesmanship in working with associates in government, industry and consumer areas; leadership in winning others to work together in a cohesive effort and devotion to helping man attain a better way of life through improving the quality of his environment.