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Issue 5     

November 2011 



Thanks to all of you who joined us at the IFSH Annual Meeting last month. Our members and stakeholders truly make this event a successful and productive one each year, and we thank each of you for your commitment and participation. I'd also like to thank the IFSH staff for organizing this year's conference, especially LaShondra Stephens, whose meeting planning expertise ensures a smoothly run event for our members, and Catherine Nnoka, whose work developing the program sets a solid foundation for knowledge building from the podium.    


As I noted in my opening remarks, the institute's partnerships with member companies, government agencies and allied scientific and trade organizations are key to realizing IFSH's overarching mission of "Innovation Through Collaboration." As a member of IFSH, your involvement, input and feedback is critical to advancing our common interests in developing real-world, science-based solutions to food safety, food defense and nutrition challenges.  


Planning is underway for the IFSH Mid-Year Meeting in the spring, and we are looking forward to another big member turnout. Keep an eye on your email for save-the-date information coming soon.  


Best regards,


Robert E. Brackett, PhD

IIT Vice President and IFSH Director, IFSH



2011 Annual Meeting Presentations & Posters Online


One-hundred-and-forty-five participants representing 33 industry member companies and other stakeholders attended the IFSH Annual Meeting on October 11-12, 2011. Held at the Hyatt Lodge at McDonald's Campus in Oak Brook, Illinois, the meeting focused on the Food Safety and Preventive Control Alliance, new food-related initiatives with IIT, highlights of IFSH's research portfolio, nutrition initiatives at IFSH's Center for Nutrition Research, and panels on non-O157:H7 enteric pathogens and the changing face of process authority.


Presentations and posters from the IFSH Annual Meeting are now posted online. Check out our Member section at the IFSH website for a list of presentations and panel discussion slides, available as downloadable PDFs. Members and non-members alike have access to downloadable poster presentation files in the public area of the site under the Resources pages.  



Pat Dunne Named 2011 IFSH Award Recipient
C. Patrick Dunne
Pat Dunne


IFSH announced on October 11 that C. Patrick Dunne, Ph.D., Senior Research Chemist and Senior Advisor, Nutritional Biochemistry and Advanced Processing at the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development & Engineering Center (RDEC), as the 2011 IFSH Award honoree.  


IFSH presents its annual award to recognize the achievements of an individual member in the field of food science and technology who has made outstanding contributions to food safety or nutrition across government, academia and industry. 


The presentation of the engraved glass statuette was made at a special reception at the IFSH Annual Meeting, held at the Hyatt Lodge at McDonald's Campus in Oak Brook, IL. 

2011 IFSH Award presenters
2011 IFSH Award presenters and committee members (from left): Bob Brackett, Jon DeVries, Jenny Scott, Michelle Richardson, Darsh Wason and Phil Minerich.


Michelle Richardson, senior food technologist with the U.S. Army Natick RDEC, accepted the award on behalf of Dunne, who was unable to attend this year's meeting. Award presenters included Bob Brackett, IIT VP and IFSH Director and IFSH Executive Advisory Board and Award Selection Committee members Jon DeVries, Medallion Labs/General Mills; Phil Minerich, Hormel Foods; Jenny Scott, FDA CFSAN; and Darsh Wasan, IIT.


"Dr. Dunne has done an outstanding job for the cause of food safety for our military personnel," said DeVries, co-chair of the award selection committee. "He has done so by collaborating with key food safety organizations such as NCFST/IFSH to investigate potential improvements in food safety via processing and procedures."  


Following the event, Dunne expressed his thanks to his IFSH colleagues. "I am proud and very pleased to be named as the 2011 IFSH Award winner. It is a great honor to join the select group of awardees; several of them are friends and colleagues in collaborative activities.


"The IFSH faculty and staff plus industrial members played vital roles in our effort to move forward to advance high pressure sterilization to improve the quality and safety of food," he continued. "I view IFSH as a prime mover to bring industry, government and academic researchers together in a joint enterprise to improve the safety of the nation's food supply." 



In the News    

Jason Wan
Jason Wan


IIT VP and IFSH Director Robert Brackett appointed Jason Wan, PhD, to the position of Associate Director in October. In this capacity, Wan will work closely with the IFSH management team and will responsible for the institute's day-to-day operations when Dr. Brackett is away from the office.  

     "Jason brings a wealth of scientific knowledge and management experience and has demonstrated a deep commitment to the success of IFSH, " noted Brackett when announcing the appointment. "Please join me in congratulating him in his new position." 


IFSH Director of Microbiology Alvin Lee, PhD, has been selected as a consultant to the prestigious International Commission on Microbiological Specifications for Foods (ICMSF). The ICMSF is assisted by expert consultants like Lee, who are appointed as specialists in particular subject areas critical to the working group's success and can be nominated to full member status after a certain period.

ICMSF Members 2011
ICMSF 2011 Members and Consultants (from right to left, and front to back):         Marta Taniwaki, Fumiko Kasuga, Lucia Anelich, Bob Buchanan, Katie Swanson, Xiumei Liu, Ratih Dewanti, John Pitt, Anna Lammerding, Ian Jenson, Marcel Zwietering, Martin Cole, Wayne Anderson, Peter McClure, Alvin Lee, Kiran Bhilegaonkar, Tom Ross, Lean Gorris, Darrell Donahue, Jean-Louis Cordier. (Absent: Russ Flowers, Bernadette Franco, Jeffrey Farber).

    The non-profit scientific working group, which is linked to the United Nations' World Health Organization (WHO) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), has had a profound impact on the field of food microbiology and food safety across the globe by addressing such issues as methods development, sampling plans, microbiological criteria, Food Safety Objectives and HACCP.  


NCFST founder Darsh Wasan, PhD, has been honored by the India International Friendship Society with the Glory of India Award for his exclusive work for the country. Wasan will receive the award in New Delhi on January 11, 2012. 


Partner Initiatives    


IFSH's Center for Nutrition Research announced at the October 2011 Annual Meeting a new partnership with The National Food Laboratory in Livermore, CA. The partnership will provide the food industry with the means to address the critical needs in commercializing highly-innovative, health-promoting foods by forming industry-driven pre-competitive consortiums, bringing together key stakeholders within their organizations-nutrition, product development and processing. This will enable a leveraged reduction in front-end innovation costs.  

     The consortium will be further enriched with invited world-noted researchers in a bi-annual forum series. Building on the pre-competitive consortium program, individual member companies will be able to follow immediately the path to market using the customizable capabilities of the two organizations.    


In September 2011, the IFSH chemistry research team began a olive oilcollaboration with the American Oil Chemist Society (AOCS), Australian Oil Association, Alpha M.O.S. and Agilent Technologies to develop methods for olive oil characterization. The characterization will examine fast methods of analysis to characterize flavor characteristics that are important and complementary to sensory evaluation. Further characterization will profile olive oil to determine authenticity and adulteration. Alpha M.O.S. has provided an electronic nose for characterization to parallel sensory attributes and Agilent provided a GC-FID-MS, and LC-MS/MS, ICP-MS and a Work Bench Prep Station.   




IFSH 2011 GRANT ROUNDUP         


In 2011, IFSH secured grants and projects in a number of food safety, food defense and nutrition initiatives. Congratulations to all IFSH team leaders and staff involved in the development and submission of these grants.


FDA Collaborative Grant
      In September 2011, IFSH's National Center for Food Safety and Technology (NCFST) received a $4.45 million grant from FDA for fiscal year 2011-2012.  

FDA Office of Foods Grant 

     IFSH's grant from FDA supporting IFSH/NCFST included $1 million to develop and coordinate a new initiative to assist the food industry in complying with upcoming Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)-related preventive control regulations. Through an IIT/IFSH/FDA Office of Foods collaborative agreement, a Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance (FSPCA) has been established and a standardized preventive controls training curriculum will be developed. The FSPCA is designed to provide US food facilities, particularly small- and mid-sized companies, with the science-based resources required for compliance with upcoming FDA regulations related to the preventive control component of FSMA. Among other deliverables, the FSPCA will provide hands-on and web-based training modules. The grant also provided funds to build a state-of-the-art distance learning portal at IFSH's Bedford Park location. 


USDA-NIFA Virus Grantnorovirus
      This grant was announced by the Secretary of Agriculture in August 2011. IFSH is a partner with North Carolina State and 29 other collaborative research institutions on the five-year $25 million grant award. IFSH team members securing this grant include Carol Shieh, Stephen Grove, Mary Lou Tortorello and Alvin Lee. Lee will serve as a consortium co-project director and theme leader for preventive controls. IFSH will lead the development of preventive controls for noroviruses in shellfish, fresh produce and ready-to-eat foods with collaboration from FDA/CFSAN Dauphin Island, and will also participate in molecular virology and viral detection activities..

     The National Center for Food Protection and Defense (NCFPD) at University of Minnesota and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) approved a grant of $174,513 for a new IFSH project on "Validation of Agent Inactivation and Isolation in Food Systems." A staged approach will be used to train staff in handling select agents and operations in the BSL-3 lab. The IFSH team includes Jack Cappozzo, Lauren Jackson, Bob Brackett and Alvin Lee, who will manage and conduct the research to evaluate and validate methods to isolate and detect biothreat agents in food and processing equipment.

CDFA Nutrition Grant
     In September 2011, IFSH's Center for Nutrition Research received $167,816 from the California Department of Food and Agriculture for a project on "California Strawberries and Insulin Resistance in Humans: Combating a Major Risk Factor for Diabetes and Cardiovascular Diseases through Diet." The proposal was submitted by IFSH's Britt Burton-Freeman and Indika Eridisinghe in collaboration with scientists from University of California, Davis and the California Strawberry Commission

USDA-NIFA Ochratoxin Grant
     IFSH/NCFST's chemistry team is part of a collaborative group that will survey the prevalence ochratoxin from various food commodities and food products. In March 2011, IFSH was awarded a $130,000, two-year, USDA-NIFA grant led by Texas College, along with participating intuitions that include the University of Nebraska, North Dakota State University, University of Pittsburgh and USDA-ARS at WRRC. The IFSH team, which includes Jack Cappozzo, Lauren Jackson, Fadwa Al-Taher, Yang Chen and Joe Jablonski, will contribute to project data on emerging ochratoxin A (OTA) issues to a comprehensive national survey and health risk assessment of foodborne OTA for general public and high-risk populations.  


Bedford Park Facilities Security Upgrades Completed     


IFSH completed $400,000 worth of IFSH exterior securityinternal and external security upgrades to the Bedford Park facility funded through an FDA grant.  


Upgrades include the following: the addition of 75 motion and intrusion detectors and glass break sensors, and 15 new interior and exterior security cameras; additional security fencing in the front and rear of the property; a new vehicle security gate; a new personnel security gate; a comprehensive refurbishment of the guardhouse that included improved line of sight and installation of impact resistant glass, a new air handling system, a security pass through tray and intercom and built in shelving and cabinetry; additional external security lighting; new security doors accessing two basement entrances; and security panels to the electrical and utility rooms. 




On the Road


Drs. Robert Brackett and Alvin Lee visited Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) in September to discuss mutual areas of research as part of the CSIRO-IFSH MoU. A number of research areas, complimentary to IFSH, have been identified and a number of CSIRO scientists have visited IFSH. Director of the Center for Nutrition Britt Burton-Freeman, PhD, will visit CSIRO in the coming months to present research findings from her research and discuss an exchange of information that will enhance both organizations' nutrition research capabilities.   


November Publications      


Nature Nanotechnology coverIFSH/FDA's resident nanotechnologist, Timothy Duncan, PhD, has published a commentary paper in Nature Nanotechnology, entitled "The Communication Challenges Presented by Nanofoods." Duncan discusses that while nanotechnology has the potential to lead to healthier, safer and better tasting foods and improved food packaging, the hesitation of the food industry and public fears in some countries about tampering with nature may be holding back the introduction of nanofoods.

JFP coverA full supplement in the November 2011 edition of the Journal of Food Protection features the IFSH collaborative paper, "Food Safety Objective Approach for Controlling Clostridium botulinum Growth and Toxin Production in Commercially Sterile Foods," by Nathan Anderson, PhD, John Larkin, PhD, Martin Cole, PhD, Guy Skinner, PhD, Leon Gorris, PhD, Alfredo Rodriguez, PhD, Robert Buchanan, PhD, Cynthia Stewart, PhD, John Hanlin, Larry Keener, and Paul Hall, PhD.
     The authors propose that, as existing technologies are refined and novel microbial inactivation technologies are developed, there is a growing need for the outcome-based metric known as a Food Safety Objective, which can be used to judge equivalent levels of hazard control stringency to ensure food safety of commercially sterile foods. The full open access text is available as a downloadable PDF file.
Illinois Institute of Technology's (IIT) Institute for Food Safety and Health (IFSH) is a one-of-a-kind applied food research institute that provides stakeholders in government, industry and academia the opportunity to develop and exchange knowledge and expertise to address key issues in food safety, food defense and nutrition. Located at IIT's Moffett Campus in Bedford Park, IL, IFSH is also home to the FDA CFSAN Division of Food Processing Science and Technology. For more, visit