Tom Whitaker

Professor Emeritus

Retired 2009
  • 919-515-6731
  • D S Weaver Labs 124

Dr. Thomas Whitaker, a native of Buncombe County, North Carolina, received a B. S. and M. S. (Agric. Engr.) from NC State University in 1962 and 1964 and a Ph.D. (Agric. Engr.) from Ohio State University in 1967. Dr. Whitaker in 1967 accepted a position with U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Raleigh, NC, at NC State University in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering where he has dedicated himself over the past 41 years to the improvement of food quality and food safety. Dr. Whitaker also holds the rank of Professor (USDA) in the Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department, NC State University.

Dr. Whitaker is internationally known for developing methods to evaluate the performance of mycotoxin sampling plans for agricultural commodities. Mycotoxins are carcinogenic compounds produced by fungi and found in a variety of foods. As a result, over 100 countries control maximum limits in foods and feed. His research studies include (1) the measurement of variability associated with sampling, sample preparation, and analysis, (2) determination of the aflatoxin distribution among sample test results, and (3) development of statistical models to predict the performance of mycotoxin sampling plans at detecting contaminated consignments in the food chain.

His research has assisted domestic and international producers, processors, manufacturers, exporters, importers, and regulatory agencies to develop mycotoxin control programs. Methods developed for mycotoxin have been extended to evaluate the performance of sampling plans used to detect genetically modified seed in grain, TCK spores in wheat, pesticide on seed, protein allergens in food products, and toxic compounds in fruit.

Dr. Whitaker has authored or co-authored 120 refereed publications and has made over 100 presentations at national and international scientific meetings and workshops. His research efforts have established Dr. Whitaker as a recognized expert and world leader in his field. Dr. Whitaker has received numerous awards. His research program has been recognized by the Food Engineering Division of ASABE as one of the six outstanding research achievements of the 20th Century; he received the Harvey W. Wiley Award from Association of Official Analytical Chemists (AOAC) for achievements in research; and he received the Group Honors Award for Excellence from the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture for expanding U.S. wheat exports to China, Brazil, Mexico, and India. He has been invited to participate as a member of several international committees and expert consultations. The methods developed to evaluate the performance of mycotoxin sampling plans have been accepted and used by USDA, FDA, the US peanut, almond, and grain industries, as well as internationally by FAO/WHO, IAEA, regulatory agencies, and food manufacturers in the various countries. Working in a team environment, his research provided vital information that helped establish worldwide standards for mycotoxin limits and sampling plans for peanuts and almonds traded in the export market.

Dr. Whitaker’s service to agriculture continued the family tradition. His father, John V. Whitaker, served many years in the NC Dept. of Agriculture and later as Secretary of the NC Milk Commission. His father-in-law, Ralph Greene, developed and supervised the BAE Research Shop from the late 1940s to 1973.

Education

Ph.D. 1967

Agricultural Engineering

Ohio State University

M.S. 1964

Agricultural Engineering

NC State University

B.S. 1962

Agricultural Engineering

NC State University

Research Description

methods to evaluate the performance of mycotoxin sampling plans for agricultural commodities. Methods include (1) the measurement of variability associated with sampling, sample preparation, and analysis, (2) determination of the distribution among replicated sample test results, and (3) development of statistical models to predict the performance of mycotoxin sampling plans.

Publications

Sampling dried figs for aflatoxin - Part II: Effect of sampling plan design on reducing the risk of misclassifying lots
Ozer, H., Basegmez, H. I. O., Whitaker, T. B., Slate, A. B., & Giesbrecht, F. G. (2017), World Mycotoxin Journal, 10(2), 99-109.
Sampling dried figs for aflatoxin - part 1: variability associated with sampling, sample preparation, and analysis
Ozer, H., Basegmez, H. I. O., Whitaker, T. B., Slate, A. B., & Giesbrecht, F. G. (2017), World Mycotoxin Journal, 10(1), 31-40.
Developments in mycotoxin analysis: An update for 2014-2015
Berthiller, F., Brera, C., Crews, C., Iha, M. H., Krska, R., Lattanzio, V. M. T., MacDonald, S., Malone, R. J., Maragos, C., Solfrizzo, M., Stroka, J., & Whitaker, T. B. (2016), World Mycotoxin Journal, 9(1), 5-29.
Variability and distribution among sample test results when sampling unprocessed wheat lots for ochratoxin A
Whitaker, T. B., Slate, A. B., Nowicki, T. W., & Giesbrecht, F. G. (2016), World Mycotoxin Journal, 9(2), 163-178.
Variability and distribution among sample test results when sampling unprocessed oat lots for ochratoxin A
Whitaker, T. B., Slate, A. B., Nowicki, T. W., & Giesbrecht, F. G. (2015), World Mycotoxin Journal, 8(4), 511-524.
Use of combined uncertainty of pesticide residue results for testing compliance with maximum residue limits (MRLs)
Farkas, Z., Slate, A., Whitaker, T. B., Suszter, G., & Ambrus, A. (2015), Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 63(18), 4418-4428.
Developments in mycotoxin analysis: An update for 2013-2014
Berthiller, F., Brera, C., Crews, C., Iha, M. H., Krska, R., Lattanzio, V. M. T., MacDonald, S., Malone, R. J., Maragos, C., Solfrizzo, M., Stroka, J., Whitaker, T. B. (2015), World Mycotoxin Journal, 8(1), 5-35.
Developments in mycotoxin analysis: an update for 2012-2013
Berthiller, F., Burdaspal, P. A., Crews, C., Iha, M. H., Krska, R., Lattanzio, V. M. T., MacDonald, S., Malone, R. J., Maragos, C., Solfrizzo, M., Stroka, J., & Whitaker, T. B. (2014), World Mycotoxin Journal, 7(1), 3-33.
Development of an incurred cornbread model for gluten detection by immunoassays
Sharma, G. M., Khuda, S. E., Pereira, M., Slate, A., Jackson, L. S., Pardo, C., Williams, K. M., & Whitaker, T. B. (2013), Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 61(49), 12146-12154.
Developments in mycotoxin analysis: An update for 2010-2011
Shephard, G. S., Berthiller, E., Burdaspal, P. A., Crews, C., Jonker, M. A., Krska, R., MacDonald, S., Malone, R. J., Maragos, C., Sabino, M., Solfrizzo, M., Van Egmond, H. P., & Whitaker, T. B. (2012), World Mycotoxin Journal, 5(1), 3-30.

View all publications via NC State Libraries

Grants

Develop Sampling Protocols to Detect Aflatoxin in Maize and Groundnuts in the Food/Feed Supply Chain for Regional Trade in Africa
US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA)(6/10/13 - 9/30/17)