Jingjing Pan, Radiochemist, ORA/FDA Office of Regulatory Science
I am Jingjing Pan, a radiochemist with the FDA’s Office of Regulatory Affairs’ (ORA) Winchester Engineering Analytical Center (WEAC), located outside of Boston, Massachusetts. My first name, Jingjing, symbolizes purity, crystal clarity, and radiant brightness, and was lovingly bestowed upon me by my father.
In my position as a radiochemist, in the Office of Regulatory Science, I analyze food samples to identify potentially harmful radioactive contaminants in food, and conduct research to develop new analytical methods that are more environmentally friendly, efficient, with fewer hazards posed to our staff and the environment.
I am hearing impaired, and proudly embrace my unique abilities to further the FDA’s food mission in ensuring food safety and protecting public health. I use a captioner and an interpreter provided by the FDA Interpreting Services Program to interact with my colleagues. The interpreter uses sign language to pick up important words while the captioner uses special equipment to type complete sentences.
One of my major achievements consists of developing and validating an innovative radioanalytical method to support the FDA's total diet study program. The method modernized an outdated 1960s-era approach for detecting harmful levels of radioactive strontium-90 in foods. Strontium-90 is a radioactive contaminant from a nuclear power plant accident, such as Fukushima, and can potentially contaminate fresh produce, dairy products, and seafood as well as other foods in areas impacted by nuclear incidents. My updated method also minimizes our environmental footprint by reducing chemical waste and has significantly improved the safety and reliability of radioanalytical testing for strontium-90.
In my day-to-day role of ensuring food safety compliance, I conduct critical measurements and analyses of food through laboratory testing. Whenever food samples arrive, my curiosity is ignited, and I always find myself pondering their origins, appearance, and safety for consumption. Being able to contribute to ensuring the quality and safety of food brings me a great sense of satisfaction.
My passion for food and strong commitment to food safety makes this an incredibly fulfilling career. Radiochemistry is a mysterious and captivating science that continues to fascinate me. Working in this field allows me to utilize various methods for food analysis, which I thoroughly enjoy. Conducting precise measurements and analyses in the lab environment fuels my curiosity and provides opportunities for innovation and exploration. I feel fortunate to be able to contribute to the advancement of radiochemistry and its applications in food safety.
I am Jingjing Pan, and #IAmORA.