Alumni Q & A: Lisa Patel, Kalsec

Executive director of global regulatory affairs at Kalsec shares why she believes the IFLR certificate program can benefit many food industry professionals.

Lisa Patel is the executive director of global regulatory affairs at Kalsec and is an IFLR alumnus, having earned a Certificate in International Food Law.

Lisa Patel is the executive director of global regulatory affairs at Kalsec, an international leader in the development of natural spice and herb flavor extracts, natural colors, natural antioxidants, and advanced hop products for the manufactured food and beverage markets.

Lisa earned a bachelor of science degree in biopsychology from Grand Valley State University, a master’s in molecular biology and genetics from Wayne State University, and a Certificate in International Food Law from Michigan State University.

Prior to joining Kalsec in 2017, Lisa had nearly 20 years of combined food and regulatory experience at Givaudan and Procter and Gamble. “We are excited to have the depth of regulatory and industry knowledge Lisa brings for our customers,” said Dr. Don Berdahl, executive vice president and chief technical officer at Kalsec, which is headquartered in Kalamazoo, Mich., with facilities in the United States, Europe and Asia.

What/who initially attracted you to the food law program at Michigan State University?

Being new to the regulatory world, I was looking for an avenue to learn more. I had trusted colleagues recommend the program and I was excited to be able to learn from a prestigious school with a great track record.  After going through the program, I have recommended it to many colleagues as a way to get an education in a proven curriculum that prepares individuals for regulatory research and decisions.   

In your opinion, how do food industry professionals benefit from certificate programs such as the one at MSU?

In regulatory, half the battle is knowing where to look for your information and having the framework to understand the specific law and policy.  Another piece is the ability to work and have discussions with regulatory professionals to get different perspectives and be able to use that information to defend your position. Regulatory is often about gathering information and creating a solid position statement based on valid data and reasoning. The certificate program offers both where to find information and working with others to practice interpreting regulations.

What about the world of food law initially attracted you to your field of work?

Like many of my regulatory colleagues, I like to know the rules and solve problems. Regulatory affairs gives me the opportunity to understand and interpret the existing rules, including guidance information and the intent of the law. This information, in combination with understanding your product portfolio, can help find white space for your products. Additionally, regulatory offers opportunity to dig into the laws and find ways that your company can benefit from your knowledge. In other words, making regulatory a competitive advantage.

How would you describe the Institute for Food Laws and Regulations  (IFLR) to a friend or colleague?  

MSU is a leader in the field of regulatory education, specifically in the field of food.  It can be overwhelming to know where to start and MSU makes it easy through classes that introduce you to food law, globally.  Additionally, you can tailor your program to those classes that you will find useful for your everyday challenges. The program is flexible and is led by people that are truly experts in the subjects and regions that they teach. The information and tools can be used to benefit your company making any return on investment almost immediate. I have had numerous employees go through programs at MSU as I recognize the value it adds and am willing to add this to my budget for the advantage that it will bring to our group and company.


Did you find this article useful?