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ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- NSF International (NSF) here unveiled the six winners of its Third Annual Food Safety Leadership Awards, a program designed to recognize groundbreaking achievements throughout the food industry.
As part of its ongoing commitment to help protect the public from foodborne illness, NSF's Food Safety Leadership Awards Program recognizes individuals and organizations for demonstrating excellence in food safety to benefit the consuming public.
After a comprehensive review of all nominations, an independent panel of leaders in the food industry identified the following winners:
Technology Breakthroughs: Hormel Foodservice will receive a food safety leadership award for being the first national manufacturer in the sliced meat category to commercialize High-Pressure Processing (HPP). Unlike chemical antimicrobial growth inhibitors, HPP provides an effective pasteurization process for sliced meats by killing Listeria monocytogenes and other foodborne pathogens. HPP applies hydrostatic pressure after the deli meat is packaged, which eliminates the critical threat for contamination between the processor and customer. The process doesn't affect flavor or texture as other antimicrobial processes do.
Research Advances: Maple Leaf Foods, Inc., a leading Canadian food processor, will be recognized with a food safety leadership award for research. Using DNA traceability, Maple Leaf Foods is developing a system that can be used to accurately and rapidly trace pork products from a consumer's plate back to the farm of origin. Maple Leaf Foods plans to implement and provide training for the new DNA-based marker-tracking system when the process and comprehensive testing of the system is completed.
Equipment Design: H&K International, manufacturer of Safe-T-Shroud, will be recognized with a food safety leadership award for developing the first cold pan accessory. Also a winner of the NRA Kitchen Innovations Award, Safe-T-Shroud safely holds perishable food in an open condiment rail. Safe-T-Shroud uses a design that satisfies U.S. Food and Drug Administration Food Code temperature holding requirements, and it also prevents the products from either freezing or drying out.
Systems Improvement: Responding to today's food safety challenges, Sodexho, Inc. has improved its Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point program by integrating new technology. Improvements and upgrades to its program include electronic food safety communication, expanded food safety training, food safety zone support, expanded verification process, brand protection index measurement, custom electronic recordkeeping, product quality assurance, and food security.
NSF also announced two lifetime achievement awards -- one for education and one for research:
Lifetime Achievement in Research Advancements: Dr. Ranzell "Nick" Nickelson II, chief executive for science and health for Standard Meat Co./Cargill/CTI Foods, was honored for his many contributions in research advancement. Throughout his career, he has been involved in the development of many breakthroughs, including the dramatic reduction in the incidence of E. coli 0157:H7 in beef and apple juice and Listeria monocytogenes in cooked ready-to-eat meats. Dr. Nickelson's thesis at Texas A&M was responsible for the first isolation of Vibrio parahemolyticus, bacteria commonly affecting seafood from shrimp in the Gulf of Mexico. He has also established many food safety controls that are standard practice today.
Lifetime Achievement in Food Safety Education: Hospitality Institute of Technology & Management president Dr. Peter Snyder Jr. was recognized for his lifetime commitment to food safety education. For over 50 years, Dr. Snyder has provided food technology and management education to the hospitality industry and government personnel. After retiring from the U.S. Army as food service R&D coordinator at the rank of lieutenant colonel, he began helping food companies implement HACCP-based Total Quality Management programs. Some of his most noted HACCP food safety work has been with the Denny's Corp.
"I am honored to recognize all of this year's winners for their tremendous commitment to improving food safety throughout the foodservice industry," said William Fisher, NSF c.m.o. and v.p. "Please join me in congratulating this year's winners on their outstanding efforts at the upcoming NRA show in May."