ST. LOUIS — The spotlight was on those who make a difference in the food safety arena Wednesday night at the awards banquet for the conference of the International Association for Food Protection.
The association, founded by dairy inspectors in 1911, also saw the passing of its presidential gavel at the annual event, which attracted more than 3,000 people from around the world.
Outgoing president Alejandro S. Mazzotta, vice president for global quality, food safety and regulatory affairs at Chobani LLC, wrapped up his year and Linda J. Harris of the University of California-Davis Food Safety and Technology Department began her term at the helm of the IAFP.
Mazzotta recalled the first time he saw Harris’ name, referencing his mentor Thomas J. Montville of Rutgers University.
“When I started, when I walked into Tom’s lab and he tossed that first paper on the desk for me to read — that was the first paper I read in food safety — it was by Linda,” Mazzotta said just before handing Harris the president’s gavel.
Earlier during the evening Mazzotta presented Montville with the IAFP President’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Montville has served as chairman of the Department and Director of the Graduate Program in Food Science at Rutgers and now has the academic rank of Distinguished Professor. He has published more than 100 peer-reviewed papers and eight books.
“I started my career in food science because this man invited me to his lab and I will always be grateful,” Mazzotta said when he presented the award to Montville.
Incoming IAFP president Harris said, in the moment she became the group’s new leader, that she enjoys the past and future of the organization.
“I’ve always loved the awards banquet. I never tire of hearing about the people who invented the fly swatter or other things,” Harris said, smiling broadly and showing the curious fascination of a scientist’s mind.
“But it’s about the future of food protection too, and I look forward to this year and the work ahead.”
In addition to the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award, other honors presented Wednesday included:
Honorary Life Membership Award — presented to five IAFP members with a combined 189 years of service to the association: Joseph J. Disch, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, retired; Joseph F. Frank, University of Georgia, Professor Emeritus; Robert B. Gravani, Cornell University Professor Emeritus; Thomas A. McCaskey, Auburn University Professor Emeritus; and Deog-Hwan Oh, Kangwon National University, South Korea. This award recognizes IAFP Members for their dedication to the high ideals and objectives of IAFP and for their service to the Association.
Harry Haverland Citation Award — Elliot T. Ryser, University of Wisconsin-Madison, for his years of devotion to the ideals and objectives of IAFP.
Food Safety Innovation Award — Sterilex Corp. for its “Ultra Powder” dry floor sanitizer.
International Leadership Award — Khalid Mohamed Sharif Alawadhi, Dubai Municipality, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, for his dedication to the high ideals and objectives of IAFP and for promotion of its mission in countries outside of the United States and Canada.
GMA (Grocery Manufacturers Association) Food Safety Award — Dale Morton, Morton Food Safety Associates LLC, in recognition of a long history of outstanding contributions to food safety research and education.
Frozen Food Foundation Freezing Research Award — P. Michael Davidson, University of Tennessee-Knoxville. This award honors an individual, group, or organization for pre-eminence and outstanding contributions in research that impacts food safety attributes of freezing.
Maurice Weber Laboratorian Award — Lee-Ann Jaykus, North Carolina State University-Raleigh, to recognize her service for outstanding contributions in the laboratory and recognizing a commitment to the development of innovative and practical analytical approaches in support of food safety.
Larry Beuchat Young Researcher Award — Haley F. Oliver, Purdue University for showing outstanding ability and professional promise in the early years of his or her career.
Sanitarian Award — Karl Thorson, General Mills, to recognize his dedication and exceptional service to the profession of sanitarian, serving the public and the food industry.
Elmer Marth Educator Award — Julie Jean, Université Laval, Quebec City, Canada, to recognize her dedication and exceptional contributions to the profession of the educator.
Harold Barnum Industry Award — Douglas L. Marshall, Eurofins Microbiology Laboratories Inc., to recognize his outstanding service to IAFP, the public and the food industry.
C. B. Shogren Memorial — Florida Association for Food Protection, for demonstrating exceptional overall achievement in promoting the IAFP “to provide food safety professionals worldwide with a forum to exchange information on protecting the food supply.”
Samuel J. Crumbine Award — Wake County Department of Environmental Services, Raleigh, NC, for innovation in food protection programs.
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