UConn Food Safety Contacts

Diane Wright Hirsch, MPH, RD (Registered Dietitian)

Extension Educator/Food Safety

Phone:  203.407.3163

Email:  diane.hirsch@uconn.edu

Food safety expertise:

  • Safe food handling from farm to table: education programs for farmers, processors, retailers, foodservice, consumers of all ages
  • Good Agricultural Practices, Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point training programs


Sheila M. Andrew, PhD

Associate Professor and Extension Dairy Specialist

Phone:  860.486.0803

Email:  sheila.andrew@uconn.edu

Food safety expertise:

  • Food safety, dairy products
  • Prevention of residues in milk and meat, research, teaching, and extension in methods to reduce the risk of residue contamination of milk and meat


Nancy Balcom, MA, Marine Fisheries

Extension Educator

Phone: 860.405.9107

Email:  nancy.balcom@uconn.edu

Food safety expertise:

  • Safe handling and processing of seafood (HACCP program) for seafood processors
  • Seafood safety education (benefits and risks associated with seafood consumption) for consumers


Candace Bartholomew, MS

Associate Extension Educator

Pesticide Safety Education Program Coordinator

Phone:  860-570-9067

Email:  candace.bartholomew@uconn.edu

Food safety expertise:

  • Provides information on pesticide safety and regulations to applicators and consumers
  • Addresses issues of pesticides on fresh foods


Dennis D'Amico, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Animal Science

Phone: 860-486-0567

Email: ddamico@uconn.edu

Food safety expertise:

  •  Dairy product development, process control, environmental pathogen monitoring, and the development and implementation of food   safety   management systems. 
  •  Extension workshops for dairy manufacturers and professionals 
  • Natural interventions and preventive controls for traditional dairy foods and processes.

Michael J. Darre, PhD, P.A.S.

Professor of Poultry Science

Extension Poultry Specialist

Phone:  860.486.1008

Email:  michael.darre@uconn.edu

Food safety expertise:

  • Extension poultry programs
  • Works with the layer industry, broiler breeders and turkey producers on production and management
  • Provides information and help to the small part-time/backyard poultry producers
  • Conducts research on control of Salmonella in layers and meat birds. 


Linda T. Drake, MS

Nutritionist and Program Director

Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP)

Phone:  860.486.1783

Email: linda.drake@uconn.edu

Food safety expertise: 

  • Answers consumer questions regarding food safety.


Mazhar Khan, PhD

Professor, Department of Pathobiology and Veterinary Science

Phone:  860-486-0228

Email:  mazhar.khan@uconn.edu

Food safety expertise:

  • Salmonella enteritidis (SE) reduction program. Actively involved in the environmental monitoring of SE in poultry farms.  Provide information regarding how to control SE contamination through cleaning, biosecurity, pest management and SE vaccination programs.  


Ellen L. Shanley, MBA, RD, CD-N

Dietetics Director

Phone:  860.486.0016

Email:  ellen.shanley@uconn.edu

Food safety expertise:

  • Food safety education and training; online food safety education


Kumar Venkitanarayanan, PhD

Professor, Department of Animal Science

Food Microbiology

Phone: 860.486.0947

Email: kumar.venkitanarayanan@uconn.edu

Food safety expertise:

  • Virulence and stress tolerance mechanisms in food-borne pathogens 
  • Reducing pathogens in foods and food animals using natural antimicrobials
  • Decreasing resistance in antibiotic resistant pathogens using plant molecules