The awards program honors individuals and organizations for demonstrating excellence in food safety, although the ultimate winner, as NSFI noted, is the consuming public.
Hormel Foodservice won the Technology Breakthrough category for being the first national manufacturer in the sliced-meat category to commercialize High-Pressure Processing. Unlike chemical anti-microbial growth inhibitors, HPP provides an effective pasteurization process for sliced meats by killing Listeria monocytogenes and other foodborne pathogens. HPP applies hydrostatic pressure after the deli meat is packaged, which eliminates the threat of contamination between the processor and customer.
Maple Leaf Foods took the Research Advances category for developing a system --- using DNA traceability --- that can be used to trace pork products from a consumer's plate back to the farm of origin. The system is still under development, but Maple Leaf plans to implement and provide training when it's complete.
H&K International took top honors in the Equipment Design category for the Safe-T Shroud, the first cold pan accessory. This product holds perishable foods in an open condiment rail and uses a design that satisfies FDA Food Code temperature holding requirements. It also prevents food from either freezing or drying out.
Sodexho won the award for Systems Improvement for technological improvements to its HACCP program. The upgrades include electronic food safety communication, expanded food safety training, food safety zone support, an expanded verification process, custom electronic record-keeping, product quality assurance, and food security.
In the individual awards, Dr. Ranzell Nickelson received a Lifetime Achievement Award for Research Advancements. Among his contributions to the field: the dramatic reduction of E. coli in beef and apple juice. Dr. Nickelson is the chief executive for science and health for Standard Meat Co., a division of Cargill.
Dr. Peter Snyder received a Lifetime Achievement Award for Food Safety Education for his 50-plus year career providing food technology and management education to the hospitality industry. He is currently working with the Research Chefs Association on HACCP training.
All the recipients appeared to be genuinely honored by the recognition. As well they should --- food safety is absolutely one of the most critical issues facing foodservice today, no matter what segment you operate in.