Richard J. Ronk, who served as director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition under the Clinton administration, died December 18 at his home in Fairfax County, Virgina, the Washington Post reported Saturday.

Ronk worked for the FDA for nearly four decades, first at a laboratory in Kansas City, MO and then at agency headquarters, beginning in the late 1960s, according to The Post. “He helped develop the FDA’s guidelines for recalling and seizing contaminated food products in interstate commerce.”

In his oral history interview, Ronk said he enjoyed his tenure at FDA. “I’ve had a wonderful career in Food and Drug, and it went, I think, far beyond anything that I deserve from my background and my own abilities. But I just can’t say enough about the people that I worked with at Food and Drug,” he said in his 1995 exit interview.

After retiring from FDA in 1994, Ronk served as an international food safety advisor to the Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service.

According to the post, Ronk’s death was caused by diabetes complications. He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Mary Dolan Ronk of Fairfax; three children, Theresa Ronk of Sterling, Jane Arrington of Greensboro, North Carolina., and Paul Ronk of Fairfax; and two grandsons.