Inspection Services Blog

ISD Staff Spotlight: Roland Carlson helps provide high-quality data at CDFA Food Safety Laboratory

NAME: Roland Carlson


PROGRAM: Center for Analytical Chemistry (CAC) Food Safety (FS) Laboratory

TITLE: Senior Environmental Scientist

HOW DO YOU WORK FOR THE CALIFORNIA FOOD SUPPLY? Our FS laboratories ensure the safety of produce sold in California by monitoring fruits and vegetables through a unique combination of our expertise and top-of-the-line technology. Our high-quality analyses and data points also are used to demonstrate the high quality of California’s food supply nationwide and in international markets.  

THOUGHTS OF WORKING AT INSPECTION SERVICES? I feel exceptionally fortunate to have had the opportunity to work at CAC for the last 15 years. Everyone in the FS laboratories works hard to provide the highest quality data in a timely manner. It’s a very dedicated group of people. I’ve had many opportunities to learn and to apply creativity in solving problems. I’ve also had some great opportunities to collaborate with colleagues at other laboratories. There are still a lot of interesting challenges as we expand the scope of our analysis to include things like emerging contaminants or difficult sample types such as hemp and cannabis.

MEMORABLE MOMENT ON THE JOB? It’s not a particular moment, but implementing new instrumentation can be a long process from making the choice of a particular technology, going through the procurement, facilitating the installation and developing the software for our analytical application. It was particularly memorable and satisfying when we upgraded to the latest generation of LCMS (liquid chromatography mass spectrometry) instrumentation for our routine analysis because the quality of the data was dramatically improved compared with what we could achieve with the previous generation instruments. In addition, we were able to significantly expand the number of analytes we were testing for and decrease detection limits.

FAVORITE TV SHOW? The best I recently watched was “Mr. Robot.”

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