John Ryan, a pioneer in fresh produce food safety, quality and traceability systems, has resigned as quality assurance administrator for the Hawaii State Department of Agriculture.

His last day on the job was May 13.

The state agency has begun a search for his successor, Ryan said.

“I’m not retiring,” he said. “I’m relocating to California where I will continue to work on projects.”

Among his current projects for Ryan Systems, the company he has founded, is a website that will register companies that have been safety certified and will help market the companies, he said. He also is working with a software company to develop further a Ryan designed computer system that will collect traceability, risk assessment and compliance data and help to speed up recalls.

“Data in the system’s server will continue to be privately held by the grower-shipper, but the server will be able to talk to computer cloud systems,” Ryan said.

During his five years with the Hawaii State Department of Agriculture, Ryan cemented his legacy in the fresh produce industry. Working with Hawaii-based grower-shippers and several companies, Ryan developed the first radio frequency identification pilot project.

He developed Hawaii’s comprehensive food safety system that covers grower food safety compliance, risk assessment, supply chain yield management, traceability and rapid recall.

Ryan’s most recent project involves a group of Asia-based companies, Honolulu-based Armstrong Produce Ltd. and the development of cold chain traceability using battery powered radio frequency identification temperature tags and waypoint and sales order tracking among the Hawaiian islands.

The project, which also involves air cargo and land transportation companies, should expand to include trans-Pacific transportation controls, Ryan said.

While he is relocating to the arid California desert, sandy beaches and Pacific breezes will continue to be a part of Ryan’s life.

“I’m a surfer, so I assure you I’ll be getting over to San Diego,” he said.

Traceability expert leaves Hawaii