Mark Wittrock is the Director of the Food, Agriculture, and Veterinary Defense Division within the Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

In this role, he oversees the coordination and integration of the Department’s food, agriculture, and veterinary defense efforts across DHS, the federal interagency, state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, academia, and the international community. His DHS focus is largely on mitigating the potential impacts from high-consequence and/or catastrophic events on the food and agriculture sectors and building stronger resilience to both the unintentional and intentional introduction of poisons, pests, or pathogens that could have quickly cascading impacts across the sectors.  

Mr. Wittrock has held a range of counterterrorism, nonproliferation, and counter-proliferation posts, both in the U.S. and abroad—including Deputy Assistant Director for International Cooperation, Senior Policy Advisor to the Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation at the National Nuclear Security Administration. Mr. Wittrock worked as a Foreign Affairs Officer at the U.S. Department of State, as well as served in the U.S. Department of Defense, both on active duty and as a civil servant.

Mark holds an M.S. in national security strategy, an M.B.A. in global management, and has Certificates of Professional Fluency in Russian from the U.S. Defense Language Institute, Moscow State University (Lomonosov), and the British Institute of Linguistics.   

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In this episode of Food Safety Matters, we speak to Mark [29:27] about:

  • Overview of the Office of Food, Agriculture, and Veterinary Defense
  • Engaging emergency support functions during the pandemic
  • Building the architecture framework to enhance resilience and prevent crisis
  • The One Health initiative: the interconnection between people, animals, plants, and their environment
  • Developing robust interagency partnerships
  • Developing partnerships with external organizations, agencies, universities, and corporations
  • Call to industry as a critical partner in developing resilience.

News and References:

FDA Proposed Revision for Produce Safety Rule’s Agricultural Water Requirements [3:40]

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EFSA Assesses Risk of Bacteria Spread During Animal Transport [12:19]

USDA Agriculture Secretary to Nominate New Under Secretary for Food Safety [15:22]

Food Safety Insights [17:23]

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