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2012 NSF Food Safety Leadership Awards

Earthbound Farms, Dr Juneja, Dr Todd names as winners

NSF International, an independent global organization that writes public health standards, tests and certifies products for the food, water and consumer goods industries, is honored to announce the winners of the 2012 NSF Food Safety Leadership Awards. The awards were presented last week during the 2012 Food Safety Summit held at the Washington, D.C. Convention Center.

The NSF International Food Safety Leadership Awards program recognizes individuals and organizations that have made a real and lasting impact on food safety. NSF International created the awards program in 2004 to encourage the development of educational programs, processes or technologies that help advance global food safety.

Each year, NSF International seeks nominations from leaders throughout the food safety community and convenes an independent panel of food safety experts from academia, industry and the regulatory community to select the winners. Nominations are evaluated based on creativity, innovation, design and the contributions made to the advancement of food safety.

This year, three winners were recognized for their outstanding commitment to food safety:

  • 2012 NSF Food Safety Leadership Award for Research Advances Vijay K. Juneja, D.V.M., M.S., Ph.D., Lead Scientist of the Predictive Microbiology for Food Safety, Eastern Regional Research Center, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • 2012 NSF Food Safety Leadership Award Winner for Systems ImprovementEarthbound Farm, one of the nation’s largest producers of gourmet salad greens
  • 2012 NSF Food Safety Leadership Lifetime Achievement Award WinnerEwen C.D. Todd, Ph.D., President, Ewen Todd Consulting and Former Director of Food Safety Policy Center, Michigan State University
"The work of Dr. Vijay Juneja, Will Daniels’ team at Earthbound Farm, and Dr. Ewen Todd has contributed to incredible and important discoveries and advances in food safety. Their leadership in applying science-based methods and research to solve important food safety issues embodies the spirit of NSF International’s Food Safety Leadership Awards. In presenting them with this award, we are also thanking them for their contributions to food safety and the protection of public health," said Kristen Holt, Senior Vice President of NSF International’s Global Food Safety Division.

The 2012 NSF Food Safety Leadership Award Winners:
Vijay K. Juneja, D.V.M., M.S., Ph.D., Lead Scientist of the Predictive Microbiology for Food Safety, Eastern Regional Research Center, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Dr. Vijay K. Juneja is a world renowned scientist and leading authority on microbiological safety of processed foods. He has devoted his career to conducting important applied research on pathogenic bacteria, which regulatory agencies and food companies throughout the supply chain utilize to solve problems and develop improved foods safety systems and standards.

His research has led to exceptional contributions in the areas of assessing and minimizing risks from emerging technologies, developing strategies for performing risk assessments on cooked and ready-to-eat foods, and diagnostic food microbiology. Because of the impact of his research accomplishments, Dr. Juneja was honored with Early Career (1998) and Senior Research Scientist (2002) awards from the USDA Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS); the Maurice Weber Laboratorian Award (2005) from the International Association for Food Protection; the Research and Development Award(2012) from the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT); and was elected Fellow of the IFT (2008). Dr. Juneja is highly regarded for his ability to develop and implement research programs that respond rapidly to changing industry and regulatory needs.

Earthbound Farm
Detecting and eliminating foodborne pathogens such as E. coli and Salmonella continues to be one of the greatest food safety challenges in the global food supply chain. In 2006, Earthbound Farm was at the center of a spinach E. coli outbreak, despite the fact that their food safety program at the time followed industry best practices and standards.

With the ultimate goal of improving the safety of their fresh-cut salad and other ready-to-eat produce, Earthbound Farm launched a first-of-its kind, robust testing and safety program just two weeks after the spinach outbreak was discovered. Earthbound Farm’s Multi-Hurdle Food Safety Program now tests each lot of fresh produce twice for pathogens of public health concern (e. coli O157:H7, non-O157 EHECs, Salmonella, Shigella) – upon arrival from a farm, and again when packaged products roll off processing lines. All lots are held until test results release them; any lots that test positive are destroyed.

As a result of Earthbound’s Multi-Hurdle Food Safety Program, 3,000 pounds of contaminated salad is prevented from reaching supermarkets each week (out of 2 million pounds processed). The rapid testing program also allows Earthbound to trace the source of contamination back to the farm within 24 hours.

Led by one of the leading architects behind the program - Will Daniels, Senior Vice President of Quality, Food Safety and Organic Integrity - Earthbound’s Multi-Hurdle Food Safety Program serves as a model for the fresh produce industry to emulate.

Ewen C.D. Todd, Ph.D., President, Ewen Todd Consulting and Former Director of Food Safety Policy Center, Michigan State University

Over his 45-year career, Dr. Ewen Todd has made outstanding contributions in the areas of microbiology and public health. Dr. Todd has applied his research to help solve some of the world’s foremost food safety issues by developing methods to detect foodborne pathogens and establishing standards to conduct foodborne outbreak investigations. As a result, he has inspired multiple food safety professionals to do the same.

Dr. Todd is recognized internationally for his work on foodborne disease and its surveillance and costs, assessing the impact of seafood toxins on disease, and for developing microbial risk assessments and methods for detecting pathogens in foods. Global agencies such as The World Health Organization have sought out his expertise to help establish surveillance programs for the control of foodborne disease in Europe and Asia.

He has also advocated for foodborne disease prevention and control strategies by promoting Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) systems, educating the public, and developing risk assessments for raw meat, eggs and fish. All of these initiatives have influenced research programs and regulatory approaches taken by the Health Protection Branch of Health Canada. Based on the excellence of Dr. Todd’s research, he earned Health Canada’s first ever Excellence in Science Award and achieved the highest possible level for a Research Scientists in Canada.

Dr. Todd has provided more than 400 national and international presentations on his research at industry conferences and regulatory meetings, written more than 120 peer-reviewed papers and 52 book chapters, contributed to 62 national and international reports, and developed 11 laboratory methods. Dr. Todd’s work has laid the foundation for today’s food safety professionals to help solve new and emerging food safety issues.

For more information:
Kim Van Kirk
Tel: +1 734-913-5749


Publication date: 4/24/2012


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