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Katheryn Parraga-Estrada

Extension Specialist – Muscle Food Safety
Katheryn Parraga
Virginia Seafood AREC
102 S. King Street
Hampton, Virginia 23669


Dr. Parraga received her Ph.D. in Food Science from Louisiana State University in August of 2021. She holds a master’s degree in Food Science focused on Food Microbiology from Louisiana State University and a bachelor’s degree in Food Science and Technology from Zamorano Pan-American Agricultural School in Honduras. Since 2013, Dr. Parraga has been involved in the area of food quality, safety, and security. Her activities include domestic and international industry interactions organizing and assisting with providing trainings, workshops, and technical guidance to ensure workforce development and proper understanding and application of food safety and best quality in food products. She has six years of experience working with the food industry, where most of her work has been in the areas of regulatory compliance and food safety. Dr. Parraga has participated as an instructor in the Sanitation control procedures of fish and fishery products and Basic seafood HACCP courses. In addition to her experience, she has eleven food safety and processing certifications. 

She joined the faculty at Virginia Seafood Agricultural Research and Extension Center and Virginia Tech Department of Food Science and Technology in September of 2021. Her extension work focuses on improving the understanding and application of food safety research through education, training, and technical guidance for the production of safe and quality foods. In addition, she is an active member of the International Association of Food Protection, Gamma Sigma Delta Honor Society, and Phi Tau Sigma Honor Society. Currently, she is the liaison of the Seafood PDG for the International Association of Food Protection.


  • Ph.D., Food Science, Louisiana State University, 2021
  • M.S., Food Science, Louisiana State University, 2016
  • B.S., Food Science and Technology, Zamorano University – Honduras, 2013

Employment History

2021-Present: Extension Specialist – Muscle Food Safety, Virginia Tech, Virginia Seafood AREC, Hampton, VA

2017-2021: Graduate Research Assistant – Seafood Food Safety Laboratory, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA

2014-2016: Graduate Research Assistant – Food Microbiology Laboratory, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA

Honors and Awards

Tom W. Dutton Scholarship Award – Louisiana State University, 2020. 

Robert Grodner Scholarship – School of Nutrition and Food Sciences. 2019. 

Zamorano Agricultural Society 2018-2019 LSU Chapter Outstanding Award. 2018. 

Food Marketing Institute Foundation & Safe Quality Food Institute Scholarship. 2018. 

Graduate Student Travel Award. 2016. 

Honorific Thesis Award - Pan-American Agricultural School – Zamorano. 2013. 

  • Food safety of muscle products, with a main focus on seafood. 
  • Work on enhancing retail store food safety, developing and disseminating educational programs to improve and promote food safety in the seafood industry.
  • Work on the enhancement of food safety knowledge and communication for the Hispanic food industry workforce. 
  • Identify the necessities for the food safety sector and food processing and develop and disseminate publications and training materials in English and Spanish versions.
  • Develop food safety training materials to assist agents with program dissemination and implementation.
  • Industry assistance with sanitation programs, good manufacturing practices, and HACCP plans.
  • Industry assistance to determine the effectiveness of their food safety programs and help them to comply with regulations. 

Trainings provided at the Virginia Seafood AREC: HACCP for seafood, meat, and poultry industry, Good Manufacturing Practices, and Sanitation Control Procedures for the seafood industry in both English and Spanish languages.