Combat Feeding researcher honored
November 3, 2011
Dr. Pat Dunne of the Combat Feeding Directorate at the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center has earned the 2011 Institute for Food Safety and Health Award.
Dunne, a senior research chemist and senior adviser in Nutritional Biochemistry and Advanced Processing at CFD, was honored last month at the IFSH annual meeting in Oak Brook, Ill. IFSH was formerly the National Center for Food Safety and Technology, or NCFST.
"Dr. Dunne has done an outstanding job for the cause of food safety for our military personnel," said Jonathan W. DeVries, co-chair of the award selection committee. "Further, he has done so by collaborating with key food safety organizations such as NCFST/IFSH to investigate potential improvements in food safety via processing and procedures.
"He has focused on collaboration to assess new innovations for their efficacy, applicability, practicality, and cost effectiveness as the best means of minimizing food safety risks for those who serve with him in the military."
According to an IFSH press release, Dunne led three "very successful academic-industry consortia under the Department of Defense's (DoD) Dual Use Science & Technology (DUST) program for advanced food processing technologies. One of these was a ground-breaking effort at NCFST. In particular, he was a key collaborator in the effort of obtaining a U.S. (Food and Drug Administration) filing for thermally assisted (mild), high pressure sterilization of low acid foods. The pressure-assisted thermal sterilization (PATS) process not only results in sterile food products, but preserves many of the desirable attributes of the foods that are lost during more vigorous thermal processing (i.e., at higher temperatures or for longer hold times)."
As a result of this successful effort, NCFST was awarded a prestigious Institute of Food Technologists' Expo Innovation Award in 2009.
"His extensive contributions in the field of food safety," said DeVries, "from sound scientific and innovative approaches to novel food preservation systems, to sharing his vast technical expertise in guiding multiple initiatives with academia and industry to improve foods for the nation's war fighters, truly typifies an IFSH Award winner, who promotes collaborative research for the benefit of food safety for all."
Dunne becomes a member of the IFSH Award Hall of Fame, which includes Jonathan W. DeVries, Ph.D., General Mills (2005); Michael Cirigliano, Ph.D., Unilever (2006); Richard Whiting, Ph.D., U.S. FDA CFSAN (2007); Katherine M.J. Swanson, Ph.D., Ecolab (2008); and Paul A. Hall, Ph.D., AIV Microbiology & Food Safety Consultants, LLC (2009), and Daniel G. Brown, Hormel Foods (2010).
"I am proud and very pleased to be named as the 2011 IFSH Award winner," Dunne said. "It is a great honor to join the select group of awardees; several of them are friends and colleagues in collaborative activities. There are some good names on there.
"The IFSH faculty and staff plus industrial members played vital roles in our effort to move forward to advance high pressure sterilization to improve the quality and safety of food. I view IFSH as a prime mover to bring industry, government and academic researchers together in a joint enterprise to improve the safety of the nation's food supply."
Dunne came to Natick in 1979 after earning his Ph.D. in biochemistry from Brandeis University and teaching for six years on the West Coast.
"It's been an interesting career, I must say," Dunne said. "We're at the stage where things we put in motion seem to be running pretty well."