WASHINGTON – After having served 31 years as the National Chicken Council’s director of science and technology, Steve Pretanik, 66, retired on July 15.

“Steve has done an outstanding job for NCC and the broiler chicken industry, and we are sorry to see him leave,” said Mike Brown, NCC president. “Steve has earned an outstanding reputation for expertise, effectiveness and integrity over the years.”

In 1980 Pretanik joined NCC after working for the US Food & Drug Administration for five years. He holds a master’s degree in food science from the University of Tennessee.

While At NCC, Pretanik has been responsible for scientific and technical matters and staffed the committees on Technical and Regulatory Affairs, Growout, Poultry Health, Environmental, Safety and Health, and Human Resources.

“I think I speak for our industry in thanking Steve for his many years of dedicated service to all of us,” said Rick Roop, Ph.D., senior vice president for science and regulatory affairs at Tyson Foods Inc., and chairman of the NCC Technical and Regulatory Committee. “We greatly appreciate his tireless efforts to navigate tough regulatory and technical issues, and we wish him all the best in his well-deserved retirement.”

Bernard Leonard, NCC chairman, said he appreciated Pretanik’s talent for teamwork. “One of our strengths is the industry’s ability to work together,” Leonard said. “Steve is an expert at bringing industry members together to focus on a problem and forge a common position. His grasp of issues is unsurpassed.”

The issues, Pretanik said, have ranged from avian influenza in live birds toSalmonellaon chicken products, inspection issues, and environmental management, among many others. He added he has seen progress on key issues.

“Take food safety, for example,” he said. “When I came here, 70 percent or more of chicken carcasses hadSalmonellaon them. Now, we can honestly say the nationwide average is 5 percent or less. Industry has done a great job in getting a handle on the microbiological quality of the raw product.”

Pretanik has handled the largest portfolio of committees in the NCC organization and dealt with a vast range of executives from the member companies. Pretanik says he plans to be active in the community in retirement, particularly in youth work, and will travel with his wife, Dianne, taking “lots of cruises.”

“I plan to enjoy my retirement and do more of the things I like to do,” he concluded.