Denver, Colorado, September 10, 2019—A globally recognized expert in pharmacognosy, a Chinese-Swiss-Irish team addressing a critical analytical need impacting global trade, an academic with more than 30 years membership in AOAC, and more than 200 other scientists were honored by AOAC yesterday for their exceptional contribution to food safety testing.
“AOAC is a member-driven organization,” said Dave Schmidt, Executive Director of AOAC INTERNATIONAL. “We can only accomplish our mission of making food safer through the hard work and dedication of our expert volunteers. AOAC is honored to work with the outstanding leaders we are recognizing today.”
The leaders were recognized in an awards ceremony attended by nearly 600 colleagues at the 133rd AOAC INTERNATIONAL Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado. Ten awards recognized scientific excellence across the spectrum of AOAC activities, including method development, expert review panels, scientific papers and editorial contributions to the Journal of AOAC INTERNATIONAL, and technical service.
The Harvey W. Wiley Award, presented each year for outstanding contribution to analytical methodology in an area of interest to AOAC INTERNATIONAL, went to Joseph M. Betz, Ph.D. of the Office of Dietary Supplements at the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Dr. Betz is an internationally recognized expert in pharmacognosy, the study of medicinal drugs derived from plants or other natural sources. A related award, the Harvey W. Wiley Scholarship Award, went to Sarah McCormack, an undergraduate student at the University of Denver pursuing a BSCh in chemistry. The scholarship is awarded to encourage and assist studies in the analytical sciences.
The Fellow of AOAC INTERNATIONAL Award, which recognizes the long-term dedication of the volunteers who serve the Association, was awarded to four active members of the food safety community. Patrick M. Bird of PMB BioTek Consulting LLC, has been an active member of AOAC INTERNATIONAL for over 12 years, serving as a member-at-large to the AOAC Research Institute Board of Directors and two terms as the microbiology community lead for AOAC’s Technical Programing Council. Donald L. Gilliland of Abbott Nutrition has been active in various roles at AOAC, including Stakeholder Panel on Infant Formula and Adult Nutritionals (SPIFAN) and Stakeholder Panel on Strategic Food Analytical Methods (SPSFAM). Research chemist Estela Kneeteman of the Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Industrial in Argentina has been an active member of AOAC INTERNATIONAL since 2006 and has served as a voting member of AOAC stakeholder panels, including SPIFAN and SPSFAM and as a peer reviewer for the Journal of AOAC INTERNATIONAL. Marina Torres Rodrigues of the Technological Laboratory of Uruguay, an AOAC member since 2006, works on development, validation and accreditation of new analytical methods in food and environmental samples, with a focus on nutrients and pesticide residues.
AOAC was proud to present Steve L. Taylor of the University of Nebraska with a Special Recognition Award for his exemplary dedication to food allergic consumers globally. Since 1980, Taylor has focused on development of methods for detecting residues of allergenic foods and the allergenicity of foods and ingredients. He has been a member of AOAC for over 30 years.
Ping Feng of Wyeth Nutrition in Shanghai, China, working with Adrienne McMahon of Wyeth Nutrition, Ireland, and Christophe Fuerer of Nestle Research Center, Switzerland received the Method of the Year award for methods addressing disputes resulting from whey protein content in infant formula being measured using different methods and yielding different results around the world. The method, detailed in the paper “Quantification of Whey Protein Content in Milk-Based Infant Formula Powders by Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate-Capillary Gel Electrophoresis (SDS-CGE): Multilaboratory Testing Study, Final Action 2-16.15,” will serve as a consensus method for global trade of infant formula.
“We are very happy to have our group’s hard work honored by AOAC as Method of the Year,” said Feng. “This award means the method will get more recognition worldwide, and will be accepted and used.”
The Technical Service of the Year Award went to Melissa Phillips of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology in recognition of her outstanding leadership and contributions to the evaluation of AOAC methods in Codex Standard 234, Methods of Analysis and Sampling. Melissa is also an active member of the AOAC Editorial Board, chairs two AOAC expert review panels, and serves as a member of several working groups and standards development panels.
The Award in Recognition of Technical and Scientific Excellence was awarded to Carmen Diaz-Amigo and Bert Pöpping of FOCOS GbR-Food Consulting Strategically, for co-editing one of the highest profiled Special Guest Editor sections of the Journal of AOAC INTERNATIONAL, 25 manuscripts focused on food allergens.
A twelve-member panel for the AOAC Stakeholder Panel for Infant Formula and Adult Nutritionals (SPIFAN) MCPD Methods won the Expert Review Panel of the Year award. The panel was chaired by Katerina Mastovska of Eurofins and included members Mathieu Dubois and Greg Jaudzems of Nestlé, Stefan Ehling of Abbott Nutrition, Jan Kuhlmann of SGS Germany GmbH, Jessica Leigh and Shaun MacMahon of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Celine Lesueur, Danone, Salvatore Parisi of Al Balqa Applied University, Joe Romano of Waters Corporation, Cheryl Stephenson of Eurofins Central Analytical Laboratory, Sudhakar Yadlapalli of First Source Laboratory Solutions LLP, and Jie Zhang of Reckett Benckiser/MJN.
The Best Paper Award went to “Confirmation and Identification of Salmonella spp., Cronobacter spp., and Other Gram-Negative Organisms by the Bruker MALDI Biotyper Method: Collaborative Study, First Action 2017.09” by Benjamin Bastin, Patrick Bird, M. Joseph Benzinger, Jr, Erin Crowley, James Agin, David Goins, Daniele Sohier, Markus Timke, Gongyi Shi, and Markus Kostrzewa. The manuscript was judged the best manuscript published in the Journal of AOAC INTERNATIONAL due to its “outstanding overall scientific merit; superior study design, writing, and technical quality; and high-potential impact.”
In addition, over 150 AOAC INTERNATIONAL Members were recognized for their years of service, including 14 individuals who have contributed their expertise to the organization for over 25 years.