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NSF issues new awards for packaging achievements

By Mike Stones , 08-Apr-2009

A Lifetime Achievement Award for contributions to food packaging and processing will be awarded to Phillip Minerich, vice president of Research and Development for Hormel Foods.

The accolade, to be issued as part of the sixth annual NSF Food Safety Leadership Awards, recognises Minerich’s contributions made over more than 30 years to improving food safety standards in the field of packaging and processing.

Because of Dr Minerich's contributions, public health and food regulation agencies have better methods for contamination detection and communicating events happening at a rapid rate,” according to NSF. A member of the Institute of Food Technologists, Dr Minerich holds three patents for development of a pressure indicator for high hydrostatic pressure processing of foods, packaging methods and products, and a container for microwave heating.

Five other awards, one for education and training and four for system improvement, will be allocated as part of this year’s NSF awards programme. The Education and Training Award will be presented to Carl Winter, Department of Food Science and Technology, University of California. “Over the past decade, Dr Winter has developed a unique musical approach to spreading critical food safety messages to hundreds of thousands of food safety educators, teachers, food handlers, health professionals and consumers,” says NSF. More than 20,000 copies of Winter’s audio CDs have been distributed throughout the world.

System Improvement Awards will be presented to Joseph Reardon, North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Greenville County Schools Food and Nutrition Services, Steve Robinson, Dole Fresh Vegetables and The Coca-Cola Company.

Public Health

Reardon, North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, will receive an award for his direction of the Castleberry food recall. This was the first public health recall in over 30 years where Clostridium botulinum was identified as a causative agent between canned product and food borne illness.

Greenville County Schools Food and Nutrition Services will be recognized for implementing a Health Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) program in 86 schools and 12 satellite locations. This was despite budget constraints, limited time and the challenge of training 650 employees across various locations, says the NSF.

As a result of the training, the scores in food safety audits have increased 12 points over a two-year period and critical non-conformances have decreased by 79 percent in the same period. The services will be commended for their effective implementation of wide-reaching food safety programme that not only helped increase awareness of the importance of food safety and improved quality, but it also increased communications between management and personnel at all school levels.

Flash cooling

Robinson, Dole Fresh Vegetables, is responsible for creating a groundbreaking food safety application that tracks freshly-harvested spinach from harvest, to transport, processing, weighing, flash cooling and into the cold storage warehouse.

The Coca-Cola Company will be honoured for its effort to improve the availability of clean drinking water.

The 2009 recipients of NSF International's FSLA Program will be presented with their awards at the 2009 Food Safety Summit on April 27 at the Washington, DC Convention Center.

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