NSF Presents Food Safety Leadership Awards

The Food Safety Summit hosted in Rosemont, Ill., earlier this month by NSF International included the presentations of the group’s 2016 Food Safety Leadership Awards. The awards, now in their 13th year, recognize individuals and organizations for real and lasting improvements in food safety. An independent panel of food safety experts from academia, industry and the regulatory community reviewed nominations on the basis of innovation, design and contribution to the advancement of food safety.

Two Lifetime Achievement Awards were presented:

John Butts, Ph.D., V.P.-Research, Land O’ Frost and President, Food Safety by Design LLC

A food safety advocate and food processing scientist with more than 40 years of experience creating food protection solutions such as improved sanitation and sanitary design of facilities and equipment, pathogen intervention, process control and risk assessment, Dr. Butts has developed investigative tools that help identify and control pathogen growth in cooked, processed meats and implemented technologies to minimize pathogen transfer within high-risk areas. In the 1980s, he led the team that developed Land O’Frost’s “seek & destroy” process to identify and control Listeria monocytogenes growth niches, which has since been adopted across the meat industry and by other food sectors.

Purnendu Vasavada, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, University of Wisconsin-River Falls (Retired)

Dr. Vasavada has made lasting contributions to advancing food safety through teaching, applied research and training programs on novel food processing, emerging pathogens, microbial food safety and rapid methods for detecting microorganisms in food and dairy products. For 30 years, he organized the Food Microbiology Symposium and Rapid Methods Workshop, and was instrumental in forming the Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance. The Food Safety Preventive Controls for Human Food course is now being offered to train FDA investigators, state food processing inspectors and the food processing industry.

The Training and Education Award went to Judy Harrison, Ph.D., Professor and Extension Food Safety Specialist, University of Georgia Dept. of Foods and Nutrition. Dr. Harrison designs and implements targeted food safety education programs for children, consumers, farmers and farmers’ market managers to reduce the risk of foodborne illness and improve behaviors.

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