Steve Pretanik is retiring today after 31 years of service as the National Chicken Council’s Director of Science of Technology, NCC President Mike Brown announced today.

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

Pretanik, 66, joined NCC in 1980 after working for the U.S. Food & Drug Administration for five years.  He holds a master’s degree in food science from the University of Tennessee.  He and his wife, Dianne, have a grown daughter.

Steve Pretanik retires from NCC

Steve Pretanik

At NCC, he 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 Dr. Rick Roop, 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.”

NCC Chairman Bernard Leonard said he appreciated Pretanik’s talent for teamwork.

“One of our strengths is the industry’s ability to work together,” Leonard says.  “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.”

Pretanik says the issues have ranged from avian influenza in live birds to Salmonella on chicken products, inspection issues, and environmental management, among many others.  He says 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 had Salmonella on them.  Now, we can honestly say the nationwide average is five percent or less.  Industry has done a great job in getting a handle on the microbiological quality of the raw product.”

As science and technical director, Pretanik has handled the largest portfolio of committees in the NCC organization and dealt with a vast range of executives from the member companies.

“I have really enjoyed working with the industry over the years, and I think the folks in the industry are a great group of people,” Pretanik said.  “I’ve made a lot of friends.”

Pretanik says he plans to be active in the community in retirement, particularly in youth work, and will travel with Dianne, taking “lots of cruises.”

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