Shawn Eblen
Brian Shawn Eblen
Managing Scientist
Chemical Regulation & Food Safety
  • Bowie, MD

Mr. Eblen contributes his more than 24 years of diverse government and consulting experience to support his clients’ development of food safety solutions. At Exponent, he has utilized his expertise to assist clients in various areas including performing root cause analysis to determine the likely cause of product failures, as well as evaluating food safety and quality systems for food companies. Mr. Eblen has participated on Exponent teams that have investigated and provided advice on many of the country’s largest and most visible foodborne illness outbreaks and recalls, as well as those supporting industry efforts to evaluate FDA and USDA food safety regulatory policies. Mr. Eblen’s broad problem-solving abilities address plant- and animal-based commodities across the entire food production process through retail and the food service continuum.

Prior to joining Exponent in 2006, Mr. Eblen was a microbiologist at the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN). His work at the Agency addressed food safety issues including conducting research that provided a scientific basis for FDA’s Juice HACCP regulation and serving as a science consultant to the FDA team managing the U.S. Food Code and Pasteurized Milk Ordinance. While at FDA, Mr. Eblen also provided his expertise to test and evaluate bio-threat test kits for their efficacy in foods, and participated with Centers for Disease Control in training on protocols to detect threat agents.

Mr. Eblen also served with the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) at the Eastern Regional Research Center. At USDA, Mr. Eblen designed experiments and managed projects that addressed food safety issues associated with the meat industry, including conducting studies that served as the basis for the USDA Food Safety & Inspection Service (FSIS) policy on recycling brine and glycol cooling solutions, and conducting water reuse studies that served as the basis for FSIS approval for use by the meat industry. Mr. Eblen also conducted research on microbiological sampling of meat carcasses that served as the scientific basis for HACCP/Pathogen Reduction regulation. 

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • M.S., Bioscience, Drexel University, 1997
  • B.S., Microbiology, Auburn University, 1991
  • Outstanding Support Scientist of the Year, CFSAN, 2005

    Secretary’s Award for Distinguished Service-Bioterrorism Preparedness, DHHS, 2005

    Team Award- Food Code Writer’s Team, CFSAN, 2005

    Group Recognition Award- CFP Task Force Group, FDA, 2004

LICENSES & CERTIFICATIONS

Certified Professional of Food Safety (CP-FS), National Environmental Health Association, #19100

Publications

Sharma SK, Ferreria JL, Eblen BS, Whiting, RC. Detection of type A, B, E, and F Clostridium botulinum neurotoxins in foods by using an amplified enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay with digoxigenin0labeled antibodies. Applied and Environ Microbiology 2006; 72:1231–1238.

Sharma SK, Eblen BS, Bull RL, Burr DH, Whiting RC. Evaluation of lateral-flow Clostridium botulinum neurotoxin detection kits for food analysis. Applied and Environ Microbiology 2006; 71:3935–3941.

Penteado AL, Eblen BS, Miller AJ. Evidence of Salmonella internalization into fresh mangoes during simulated post harvest processing procedures. Journal of Food Protection 2004; 67:181–184.

Eblen BS, Walderhaug MO, Edelson-Mammel SG, Chirtel SJ, De Jesus A, Merker RI, Buchanan RL, Miller AJ. Potential for internalization, growth and survival of Salmonella and Escherchia coli in O157:H7 in oranges. Journal of Food Protection 2003; 77:1578–1587.

Juneja VK, Novak JS, Eblen BS, Mcclane BA. Heat resistance of Clostridium perfringens vegetative cells as affected by prior heat shock. Journal of Food Safety 2001; 21:127–139.

Juneja VK, Eblen BS, Marks HM. Modeling non-linear survival curves to calculate thermal inactivation of Salmonella in poultry of different fat levels. International Journal of Food Microbiology 2001; 22(70):37–51.

Miller AJ, Bayles DO, Eblen BS. Cold shock induction of thermal sensitivity in Listeria monocytogenes. Applied Environmental Microbiology 2000; 66:4345–4350.

Juneja VK, Eblen BS. Heat inactivation of Salmonella typhimurium DT104 in beef as affected by fat content. Letters in Applied Microbiology 2000; 30:461–467.

Juneja VK, Eblen BS. Predictive thermal inactivation model for Listeria monocytogenes with temperature, pH, NaCL, and sodium pyrophosphate as controlling factors. Journal of Food Protection 1999; 62:986–993.

Juneja VK, Marmer BS, Eblen BS. Predictive model for the combined effect of temperature, pH, sodium chloride, and sodium pyrophosphate on the heat resistance of Escherichia coli O157:H7. Journal of Food Safety 1999; 19:147–160.

Duffy G, Riordan DCR, Sheridan JJ, Eblen BS, Whiting RC, Blair IS, McDowell DA. Differences in thermotolerence of various Escherichia coli O157:H7 strains in a salami matrix. Food Microbiology 1999; 16:83–91.

Palumbo SA, Klein P, Capra J, Eblen BS, Miller AJ. Comparison of excision and swabbing sampling methods to determine the microbiological quality of swine carcass surfaces. Food Microbiology 1999; 16:459–464.

Miller AJ, Eblen BS, Oser A, Burkhardt W. Application and evaluation of mole-specific bacteriophage as a process integrity or fecal contamination indicator in a pork slaughterhouse environment. Journal of Applied Microbiology 1998; 85:898–904.

Riordan DC, Duffy G, Sheridan J, Eblen BS, Whiting RC, Blair IS, McDowell DA. Survival of Escherichia coli O157:H7 during the manufacture of pepperoni. Journal of Food Protection 1998; 61:146–151.

Rajkowski KT, Eblen BS, Laubauch C. Efficacy of washing and sanitizing trailers used for swine transport in reduction of Salmonella and Escherichia coli. Journal of Food Protection 1998; 61:31–35.

Miller AJ, Call JE, Eblen BS. Growth, Injury and Survival potential of Yersinia enterocolitica, Listeria monocytogenes, and Staphylococcus aureus in brine chiller conditions. Journal of Food Protection 1998; 60:1334–1340.

Juneja VK, Eblen BS, Marmer BS, Williams AC, Palumbo SA, Miller AJ. Thermal resistance of nonproteolytic type B and type E Clostridium botulinum spores in phosphate buffer and turkey slurry. Journal of Food Protection 1995; 58:758–763.

Juneja VK, Eblen BS. Influence of sodium chloride on thermal inactivation and recovery of nonproteolytic Clostridium botulinum type B KAP B5 spores. Journal of Food Protection 1995; 58:813–816.

Presentations and Published Abstracts

Centrella W, Eblen BS, Maduff W, Miller AJ, Larsen S, Warren-Serna W. Prevalence and level distribution of Salmonella spp. from retail pork cuts from four United States cities. Poster presented at the Annual Meeting of International Association of Food Protection, Columbus, OH, August 2008.

Eblen BS. Current issues in food safety. National Science Teachers Association Annual Meeting, Boston MA, March 2008.

Eblen BS. Current issues in food safety. FDA/NSTA Professional Development Program in Food Science, Washington DC, July 2006.

Eblen BS, Whiting RA. Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat foods and interventions that affect the relative risk. FDA Regional Science Forum, Denver CO, May 2005.

Eblen BS, Ottenson A and Miller AJ. The effects of agricultural pesticide and antibiotic applications on apples and apple juice microflora. Presented poster presentation at the Annual meeting of FDA Science Forum, Washington DC, April 2005.

Eblen BS. Food safety concerns. FDA New Inspectors Training Course, Annapolis, MD, March 2004.

Eblen BS. Reducing foodborne illness resulting from hand contact of ready-to-eat foods. Ohio State Health Department Annual Meeting, Columbus, OH, March 2003.

Eblen BS. Current Listeria research in ready to eat foods. Pittsburgh Regional AFDO Annual Meeting, December 2002.

Eblen BS, Penteado AL and Miller AJ. Evidence of Salmonella internalization into fresh mangoes during simulated post harvesting procedures. Presented poster presentation at Annual meeting of International Association of Food Protection, San Diego, CA, June 2002.

Eblen BS, Whiting RC, Miller AJ. Growth potential of Listeria monocytogenes in commercially prepared ready-to-eat deli salads stored at refrigeration temperatures. Presented poster presentation at Annual Meeting of International Association of Food Protection, San Diego, CA, June 2002.

Eblen BS. Food microbiology review. FDA Regional Train the Trainer Course, Alameda and Modesto, CA, September 2001.

Food microbiology in Chapter 3 of the US Food Code. FDA Regional Train the Trainer Course, Houston, TX, September 2000.

Eblen BS, Walderhaug, M, Miller AJ. Routes of infiltration, survival, and growth of Salmonella enterica Serovar Hartford and Escherichia coli O157:H7 in Oranges. IAFP Annual Meeting, Atlanta, GA, August 2000.

Prior Experience

Microbiologist, U.S Food and Drug Administration, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, 1999–2006

Support Scientist, 1993–1999; Biological Laboratory Technician, 1991–1993, United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Eastern Regional Research Center 

Professional Affiliations

International Association of Food Protection

Project Experience

Performed a root cause analysis for an enzyme preparation facility in India that had a contamination event. Evaluated current ingredient procurement and handling practices and provided recommendations to prevent additional occurrences.

Performed root cause analysis, for a brewery, to determine likely cause of a beer spoilage event. Provided client with likely causes of the spoilage and recommendations to prevent another occurrence.

Demonstrated that packaged frozen food exposed to a warehouse fire was safe for human consumption. The Exponent team conducted the on-site investigations, identified potential hazards, developed a laboratory analytical protocol, evaluated the results, and conducted a risk assessment. Based on Exponent’s report, USDA allowed for the food to be released into commerce.

Performed an on-site investigation and risk assessment to determine if food exposed to an ammonia leak from a refrigerated warehouse was safe for human consumption. Advised the client of the potential human health risks and the approach to assess safety of the products.

On behalf of a trade association, evaluated thermal inactivation data used to develop a risk assessment demonstrating to USDA that the consumer guidance for the end-point cooking temperature of pork could be lowered to 145°F (for 3 minutes) without a significant decrease the food safety of the product. The agency issued their acceptance of this recommendation on May 22, 2011.

Evaluated several dairy operations in Europe to assess the current state of their food safety and quality systems for a major beverage producer. Advised client on prioritized areas for improvement.

Assessed and recommended improvements of food safety systems of a major dried fruit processor, including growing, field drying, harvesting and manufacturing operations. Also assessed the inherent food safety properties of the client’s products.

Performed health hazard assessment of beverages with foreign material contamination. Provided client with assessment of the likely risk from this contamination and determined the potential for more contaminated units in commerce.

Provided recall management support and performed a root cause analysis to determine the likely cause of a failure of acidified baby foods.

Analyzed production records for a flavor manufacturer to determine the amount of products made with an ingredient contaminated with Salmonella, and determined whether further processing of the product eliminated the pathogen. Exponent provided this information to FDA and helped persuade the agency not to recall the final product.

Knowledge

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • M.S., Bioscience, Drexel University, 1997
  • B.S., Microbiology, Auburn University, 1991
  • Outstanding Support Scientist of the Year, CFSAN, 2005

    Secretary’s Award for Distinguished Service-Bioterrorism Preparedness, DHHS, 2005

    Team Award- Food Code Writer’s Team, CFSAN, 2005

    Group Recognition Award- CFP Task Force Group, FDA, 2004

LICENSES & CERTIFICATIONS

Certified Professional of Food Safety (CP-FS), National Environmental Health Association, #19100