The Cornell Institute of Food Science won the 2010 Grocery Manufacturers Association Food Safety Award on Apr. 28. The award honors individuals or organizations that demonstrate a longstanding commitment to improving food safety.
Other qualifications that winning organizations must meet are having at least ten years of service in the field of food safety, in addition to making research contributions. CIFS began in 1970 to “coordinate activities pertaining to food science and food technology.” Prof. Kathyrn Jean Boor, food science and co-chair of the CIFS, notes that the first food science-related program began in 1902.
According to Boor, the CIFS has consistently conducted high-quality basic and applied research in food safety, has provided successful extension and outreach programs, and has trained students who have furthered food safety throughout the world.
Of those students, Daniel Salmon, class of 1872, identified the foodborne pathogen, salmonella. Faculty have served on federal and state government agencies such as the New York State Department of Health and the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.
The food science department has a total of 23 faculty from both its Ithaca and Geneva campuses. The CIFS, however, is not limited to food science faculty; the institute opens to doors to anyone interested in food science. While most members work in food science, nutritonial science, chemical engineering or the veterinary school, Boor says that “there is a little from everywhere.”
“The fact that [the GMA Food Safety Award] is a team award is a nice thing, too,” Boor said. “The award demonstrates that we have a multi-capable team of people.”
Boor said she believes that the award will benefit the CIFS in its future endeavors.
“It really is about establishing a track record in food safety research and education,” Boor said.
Now that people associate food safety with the food science program, she expects that the program’s popularity to rise among prospective students.
“The award will certainly elevate our visibility in terms of recruiting undergraduate and graduate students,” Boor said.
Boor also hopes the CIFS will become more visible to funding agencies that provide grants, such as the United States Department of Agriculture.