Walter Mathias Urbain, Emeritus Member and former Scientific Editor of the Journal of Food Science, died January 15, 2002, in Dallas, Tex., at the age of 91. He was a leading pioneer in the development and advocacy of food irradiation technology as a means to preserve food and increase the food supply.
Urbain earned his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Chicago in 1934. He then began a 32-year career at Swift and Co. in Chicago, Ill., working exclusively in research and development and ultimately rising to the position of Director, Engineering Research, which he held from 1960 to 1965. It was during his time at Swift that he developed an intense interest in food irradiation technology, which was first motivated by an effort to provide the military with better-quality food options during World War II. He worked jointly with the U.S. Army Research Laboratories in Natick, Mass., on food irradiation technology. In 1962 he received the Army’s Outstanding Civilian Service Award for his efforts.
Urbain left Swift in 1965 to join the Michigan State University Graduate School of Food Science in East Lansing, Mich., as Professor of Food Science, focusing his efforts on increasing the food supply in developing countries via food irradiation. He worked with the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, Austria, to implement food irradiation as a means to feed greater numbers of people in developing countries.
After retiring from Michigan State in 1975, Urbain served as a visiting professor at the University of California, Davis, and continued his consulting work with the IAEA and the World Health Organization. During his career, he was awarded two patents, published 36 scientific papers, and published a book called Food Irradiation.
An active member of IFT since 1940, Urbain served as JFS Scientific Editor from 1966 to 1970. He was elected an IFT Fellow in 1970.
Don F. Splittstoesser, Emeritus Member, died December 23, 2001, in Geneva, N.Y., at the age of 74. He was an internationally recognized authority on food microbiology.
He received his Ph.D. in microbiology and biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin. After working two years as a first lieutenant in the Army Medical Service Corps as chief of a serology branch, Splittstoesser joined the faculty at Cornell University in 1958, where he served as Chairman of the Food Science and Technology Dept. from 1982 to 1989, and retired as Professor Emeritus in 1995.
His research dealt with bacteria and other microorganisms that cause foodborne diseases in humans. He was known for his expertise in and contributions to the field of mycology, as well as for being the first person to identify Alicyclobacillus as a spoilage bacterium in fruit beverages. He was also the editor of several editions of the Compendium of Methods for the Microbiological Examination of Foods. During his career, he wrote approximately 200 scientific and technical papers and was a popular speaker at industry meetings and training programs worldwide.
An active member of many scientific organizations including IFT, Splittstoesser was elected an IFT Fellow in 1984. He served as Chair of IFT’s Western New York Section in 1970 and as Chair of the Microbiology Division 1978–79, in addition to serving on many panels and committees.
Peggy Matthews Foegeding, Professional Member, died in January 2002 in Raleigh, N.C., at the age of 46.
She was an internationally renowned teacher and researcher in the field of food microbiology who was recognized as one of the nation’s leaders on sporeforming bacteria and their resistance to heat, sanitizers, bacteriocins, and other controls.
Foegeding received her Ph.D. in food microbiology from the University of Minnesota in 1982 and joined the faculty at North Carolina State University’s Dept. of Food Science that year. Her love of teaching earned her a number of awards, both within her department and nationally.
Her research focused on understanding the microbial ecology of foods and how food processing, particularly thermal processing, affects the ecology. She directed much effort toward improving detection methods for sporeforming bacteria, particularly antibody-based methodologies. She also focused on categorizing thermophilic organisms from foods using ribotyping and other molecular approaches.
Foegeding served on the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Competitive Grants Panel for the National Research Initiative in Food Safety for three years and chaired it in 1994. She served as co-chair of two task forces convened by the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology that examined the area of foodborne pathogens as related to the U.S. food safety system. She has more than 126 publications to her credit.
An active member of IFT since 1975, Foegeding served on a number of committees and boards, received the William V. Cruess Award in 1994 for outstanding teaching and advising, and was elected an IFT fellow in 1999.