CHAMPAIGN-URBANA, IL — The American Meat Science Association’s (AMSA) 62nd Annual Reciprocal Meat Conference was held in Rogers, Arkansas. Numerous awards were given to AMSA members during the awards program on Tuesday, June 23, 2009. Among those honored were:
Three young AMSA members were the recipients of the Distinguished Achievement Award. The award was established in 1992 and is designed to recognize and foster the development of young AMSA members who have demonstrated significant scientific skills in muscle foods research and technology that contribute to the animal products industry and the AMSA. The award is sponsored by Cryovac Sealed Air Corporation.
Dr. Mindy Brashears is an associate professor of Food Microbiology and Safety at Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, and also serves as Director of the International Center for Food Industry Excellence. She developed and launched its food safety course. Uniquely, the course is available in the classroom, but also—thanks to a USDA integrated grant—in an online format, and in Spanish. The course reaches beyond university walls, as it is available to meat industry professionals, university students and faculty in HACCP and foods safety. Furthermore, the Spanish language version has led to collaborative training within the Mexican meat industry.
Dr. Ann T. Brackenridge, Cargill Meat Solutions, Wichita, Kansas, leads the Cargill Value Added Meats Research and Development teams, which develop new products for customer segments of national and regional accounts, retailers, and distributors. During her academic career, Dr. Brackenridge studied meat quality improvement’s links to feeding regimens, as well as muscle growth and development in swine and beef. She later directed Cargill Meat Solutions teams conducting meat quality research focused on how diets affect pork quality. Today she maintains a keen interest in helping young meat scientists advance into the field.
Dr. Chris Kerth, Professor of Animal and Dairy Science at Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama. was the recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award. The award was established to recognize excellence in the teaching of undergraduate and graduate meat science courses and the impact on the lives of those students in a highly positive manner. The award was sponsored by Oscar Mayer, a Division of Kraft Foods, Madison, Wisconsin. Dr. Kerth studied at Kansas State University and Texas Tech University. He is founder of the Auburn Meat Science Association, developed the Muscle Foods Degree Option in Animal Science for undergraduates, and played an important role in the design and construction of the Lambert/Powell Meats Lab, the William R. Jones Demonstration Kitchen, and the Dale L. Huffman Conference Room.
Dr. Randall Huffman, Maple Leaf Foods, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, was the recipient of the Distinguished Extension–Industry Service Award. The award was established in 1965 to recognize outstanding achievement in meat science extension and service to the industry and is sponsored by the American Meat Institute Foundation (AMI Foundation). For nearly a decade now, Dr. Huffman has served the meat and poultry industries on the staff of the American Meat Institute Foundation. He is known industry-wide as the primary technical and scientific resource on food safety and quality. As President of the AMI Foundation, Dr. Huffman was part of a very significant effort to create a unified scientific funding body for critical food safety research known as the Food Safety Initiative, which in the past eight years has funded over 60 food safety research projects. Since January 2009, Dr. Huffman serves as the Chief Food Safety Officer for Maple Leaf Foods.
Dr. Elisabeth Huff-Lonergan, professor of animal science at Iowa State University, Ames, IA., was the recipient of the Distinguished Research Award. The award was established in 1965 to recognize members with outstanding research contributions to the meat industry and is sponsored by ConAgra Foods, Downers Grove, Illinois. Dr. Huff-Lonergan’s research has focused on the fundamental mechanisms underlying the development of fresh meat quality attributes. Basic scientists recognize Dr. Huff-Lonergan as a leader in the study of calpain biochemistry of muscle. She currently serves on the editorial board of three international publications, and is an Associate Editor of the journal of Meat Science.
Dr. Larry W. Hand, Director of Process Development with Smithfield Foods, Inc., was the recipient Meat Processing Award, which is given to recognize outstanding ability as a researcher or specialist in meat processing. The award was established in 1977 and is sponsored by Smithfield Foods. Dr. Hand received degrees from Texas A&M University and the University of Nebraska, and has developed product and meat processing technologies for several meat industry leaders, after which he formed Dimension Food Solutions, Inc. a consulting firm specializing in process meat technologies. Dr. Hand was so successful in directing process improvement for Smithfield Foods, Inc., that he was hired by Smithfield as the Director of Process Improvement. Since 2007, Dr. Hand has been able to save Smithfield over $13 million and independent operating companies over $8 million.
Dr. H. Glen Dolezal, Cargill Meat Solutions, Wichita, Kansas, was the recipient of the Intercollegiate Meat Judging Meritorious Service Award. The award was established in 1993 to recognize outstanding contributions or service to the Intercollegiate Meat Judging Program and is sponsored by Food Safety Net Services, San Antonio, Texas. Dr. Dolezal’s teams won roughly 41 percent of the time, and placed in the top three in 78 percent of entered events. His students were named top individual in 18 contests. Dr. Dolezal’s teaching excellence has been recognized via prestigious awards including the OSU Board of Regents Distinguished Teaching Award. Now at Cargill Meat Solutions, Dr. Dolezal is responsible for research and development support for procurement operations, and marketing as director of new technology applications, corporate beef grading oversight, and beef tenderness commitments.
J. Patrick Boyle, President & Chief Executive Officer, American Meat Institute (AMI), was the recipient of the AMSA Special Recognition Award. Boyle is recognized for his dedicated service to the meat industry, for his staunch support of its members, and for his daily efforts to improve conditions and resolve issues critical to the health of the industry and its workers. He currently serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of the AMI. Boyle previously was administrator of the Agricultural Marketing Service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Today, he serves with the Secretary of Agriculture and the U.S. Trade Representative on the Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee, is a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Committee of 100. In addition, he is a Director of the American Institute of Wine and Food.
Dr. Neville Gregory, Royal Veterinary College, United Kingdom, was the recipient of the 2009 AMSA International Lectureship Award. Sponsored by The Solae Company, the award was established to honor an individual for internationally recognized contributions to meat science and technology and who has promoted international activities in the field. Dr. Neville Gregory is recognized for his unmatched contributions to the understanding of meat animal welfare and physiology. His considerable expertise ranges from stress physiology in animals, to central nervous system function and the endocrinology of growth. In 2003 Dr. Gregory was appointed to a personal chair in Animal Welfare Physiology, which is jointly supported by the Royal Veterinary College and Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. He has published more than 290 scientific papers, and is on the editorial board of Outlook on Agriculture.
The American Meat Science Association professional society was formally incorporated in 1964. Its unique role is to provide the forum for all interests in meat—commercial, academic, government, and consumer—to come together in a reasoned, scientifically based atmosphere to address the needs of the processing and marketing segments of industry, the consuming public, its own members, and others in the biological and nutritional sciences.