Floros to head Penn State Food Science Department
John D. Floros, formerly Professor of Food Process Engineering at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind., was appointed Head of the Department of Food Science in the College of Agricultural Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park. He assumed his new duties June 28, 2000.

Floros, a native of Greece, received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in food science and technology from the Agricultural University of Athens, Greece, and his Ph.D. in food science and technology from the University of Georgia, in 1988. Beginning as a technician and production supervisor at a fruit processing plant in Andravida, Greece, he advanced to Plant Manager. Later, he served as a research assistant first at the University of Athens, then at the University of Georgia, before joining the faculty of Purdue University, where he rose to the rank of full professor. He is a member of the American Society of Agricultural Engineers, the American Society for Quality Control, IFT, Phi Tau Sigma, Sigma Xi, and the Society of Plastic Engineers. He has published more than 36 refereed articles, 19 book chapters, 12 other publications, 70 research abstracts, and presented more than 55 invited lectures. He serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Food Quality and the trade publication, Food, Cosmetics, and Drug Packaging.

Floros has made substantial contributions to understanding the many phenomena that drive food process engineering and packaging systems. His work has generated significant innovations in efficient food processing and packaging systems while improving the value, quality, safety, and shelf life of food products. These include developing effective peeling processes for fruits and vegetables, optimizing a calcification process for diced tomatoes, and establishing new, environmentally friendly techniques to commercially ferment vegetables using low-salt brines. He also designed “active” packaging films with antimicrobial properties that improve food safety and extend the shelf life of some packaged foods.

Floros, who joined IFT in 1984, is a Councilor Representative to the Executive Committee and has chaired several national and regional IFT committees and divisions. He was awarded an honorary research visiting professorship in the Department of Biotechnology, Technical University of Denmark. He helped develop a graduate curriculum and program for the Department of Food Science and Technology of Aristotelian University in Thessaloniki, Greece, and has been an external reviewer for the Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology at the Technical University of Hong Kong.

Penn State’s Department of Food Science integrates the disciplines of chemistry, microbiology, engineering, and nutrition to solve problems relevant to the processing and manufacturing of value-added foods from agricultural commodities. Besides classrooms and research facilities, the department includes the University Creamery, the Sensory Evaluation Laboratory, and the Center for Food Manufacturing, a partnership between the university and corporate members to meet the challenges of productivity, competitiveness, and safety in food processing and manufacturing. Other Penn State facilities available to food science include the Meats Laboratory, Materials Research Laboratory, Biotechnology Institute, Bioprocessing Resource Center Inc., and the Breazeale Nuclear Reactor.

E.M. Foster inducted into Wisconsin Meat Industry Hall of Fame
Edwin M. Foster, Emeritus Professor of Food Microbiology and Toxicology and of Bacteriology, and former Director of the Food Research Institute at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, recently was inducted into the Wisconsin Meat Industry Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Fame was instituted in 1993 to recognize contributions of individuals who have had a significant impact on the meat industry of Wisconsin. Foster was recognized for his research on vacuum-packaging of meat products, sodium nitrite, and botulism, and for his leadership in guiding the Food Research Institute to its preeminent status as the leading academic unit nationwide to work on issues of food safety.

A former president of the American Society for Microbiology and a Charter Fellow of IFT, Foster earned his B.A. and M.A. degrees in biology at North Texas State College, and his Ph.D. degree in bacteriology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison (1940). After Army service and two years as an instructor, first at Wisconsin and then at the University of Texas, Foster joined the University of Wisconsin at Madison as an assistant professor of bacteriology and rose through the ranks to full professor in 1952. In 1966, he was instrumental in moving the Food Research Institute (FRI) from the University of Chicago to UW-Madison and was appointed FRI Director, a position he held until 1986, concurrently with a 1975 appointment as Chairman of the Department of Food Microbiology and Toxicology. Shortly after the move, the U.S. food industry faced several “scares of the month” concerning food additives, and Foster expanded FRI’s program to include research on this question of food safety. He was named Emeritus Professor upon his retirement in 1987.

An IFT member since 1950, Foster has been active in a number of professional and scientific societies throughout his career. He has also served on a number of food-safety advisory committees to the National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council, the Food and Drug Administration, the Department of Agriculture, and the World Health Organization, among others. In 1969, he received the Nicolas Appert Achievement Award, IFT’s highest honor, and was again recognized in 1986 with IFT’s Carl R. Fellers Achievement Award.

Chassy takes new position at University of Illinois
Bruce Chassy, formerly Head of the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at the University of Illinois, Urbana, on May 17, 2000, became Associate Director of the Campus Biotechnology Center and Assistant Dean for Research in the university’s College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences.

In this newly created position, Chassy will be devoted to issues surrounding genetically modified crops and foods, with broad responsibility for outreach, science communication and education, and development and facilitation of a safety evaluation program.

Chassy will be succeeded by faculty professor Hans Blaschek, who was appointed Interim Head while the university conducts a national search for a permanent Head of the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition.