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Dr. Willette M. Crawford
Dr. Willette M. Crawford

Senior Scientist & Director, Center for Food Safety & Health 1890 Research & ExtensionR.L. Hurst Building 102803-536-8555

Willette M. Crawford

Dr. Willette M. Crawford is establishing a nationally recognized food safety and public health research and extension program that improves the quality of life for South Carolinians and strengthens our agribusiness sector. Her research spans food safety, quality, nutrition, and lifestyle-related chronic illness.


  • Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, 2002, SC State University
  • Bachelor of Science in Biology, 2002, SC State University
  • Master of Public Health, 2004, East Tennessee State University
  • Doctorate of Food Science, 2007, Purdue University


Crawford is a food microbiologist and recognized leader in the fresh produce industry with expertise spanning the supply chain. She has been a part of the SC State 1890 Research & Extension team since mid-October 2022. Crawford also champions food safety and regulatory compliance through her consultancy, Katalyst Consulting LLC. She has held leadership positions managing global supply chains for companies such as Chiquita Brands International and Growers Express/Green Giant Fresh. Additionally, as a subject matter expert for the U.S. FDA, she helped develop the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) regulations and updated the agency’s approach to foodborne illness outbreak and recall investigations. She helped develop one of the first item-level traceability solutions for fresh produce and helped create a Food Defense and Bioterrorism Simulation tool to assess the public health and economic impacts of intentional attacks on the nation’s food supply.  She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.

Research Interests

Crawford's research focuses on biocontrol for food and agriculture (e.g., bacteriophages, bacteriocins, etc.); produce safety; and novel processing and decontamination technologies water quality, particularly agricultural water quality.


Katalyst Food Safety