Member Achievements

Membership Committee

Ted Labuza selected to serve as a member of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Food Advisory Committee.

SILVER SPRING, Md. – University of Minnesota Department of Food Science and Nutrition Professor Ted Labuza has been selected to serve as a member of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Food Advisory Committee.

Labuza’s appointment begins immediately and will end on June 30, 2019.

The Food Advisory Committee consists of 17 standing members including the chair. The Commissioner or designee selects members and the Chair from among authorities knowledgeable in the fields of physical sciences, biological and life sciences, food science, risk assessment, nutrition, food technology, molecular biology, and other relevant scientific and technical disciplines. A complete list of members is available on the FDA website.

The Committee is charged with providing advice to the Commissioner of Food and Drugs and other appropriate officials, on emerging food safety, food science, nutrition, and other food-related health issues that the FDA considers of primary importance for its food and cosmetics programs.

Labuza is known internationally as one of the top experts on kinetics of reactions related to loss in food quality, nutrient degradation and pathogen growth and death kinetics. He has garnered many accolades from organizations and publications around the world for his research efforts. Read his full bio for more information on his research, teaching and publications.

The Gilbert Leveille Lectureship Award

Gilbert LeveilleThe Gilbert Leveille Lectureship Award is sponsored by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) and the American Society of Nutrition (ASN) for someone who embraces Nutrition Science with Food Science Technology. The award is for $5000 and a lecture at ASN or IFT in alternative years. The Award in 2015 was presented to  Dr Theodore (Ted) Labuza, at both the ASN annual meeting in Boston as part of the Experimental Biology meeting and at   IFT’s Annual Meeting and Food Expo held in Chicago on 11-14 July . The lecture was done at the ASN meeting this year. Ted is the Morse Alumni Distinguished Teaching Professor of Food Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota in St Paul, Minnesota, USA.

Food science and technology is a highly interdisciplinary field, based on the basic and applied sciences. Ted’s research accomplishments cover both – ranging from fundamental discoveries in physical chemistry relating to water activity in foods and modeling temperature effects on shelf life to commercial instrumentation to predict food shelf life and safety. It also encompasses nutrient retention/augmentation and nutritional food product development.

The Gil Leveille Award recognizes published research accomplishments on the interface of nutrition and food science. Dr Labuza’s illustration of the Stability Map, which relates the food water activity and moisture sorption isotherm to food shelf life and stability, is classic. Food spoilage impacts in very complex ways related to  food safety, nutritional value and acceptability, and many economic issues, such as food waste. As complex as spoilage phenomena are, Ted’s stability diagram does a marvelous job of tying together the many factors influencing spoilage, i.e. microbial growth, enzymatic activity, nutrient degradation, lipid oxidation, structure deterioration, etc. – relating them to the moisture sorption isotherm of specific food materials. Ted followed up with detailed kinetic studies and methodologies as means of quantitating the myriad pathways from safe and acceptable to hazardous and rejected. Woe be the food professional or student, who fails to understand the significance of the Stability Map! Ted’s parallel physical chemistry research involves glass transition state in foods - an equally complex phenomenon that is related to texture change with moisture and temperature.

The wide range of Ted’s research interests practically defines the multidisciplinary aspect of food science and technology with nutrition. His teaching curricula and published research involve:

  • physical stability of processed foods;
  • processing technology and shelf life/nutritional quality losses of food products, e.g. high protein food bars, freeze dried shrimp, salmon and spinach all for the NASA space program, fresh roasted ground coffee, milk powders use in protein bars, infant formula, and intermediate moisture pet foods amongst many other food systems;
  • development of means to slow protein aggregation in weight and muscle building high protein semi-moist bars so as to prevent loss of nutritional quality, one of his most recent research areas funded by a USDA NIFA grant.
  • Another USDA NIFA funded area has been the controlled glycation of allergenic food proteins to reduce allergenicity. In addition through funding from the Department of Homeland Security, his group has developed a rapid method (under 30 min) for detecting foreign allergenic proteins in complex food ingredients. This employs protein capture using aptamers (single stranded DNA oligomers) followed by Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy using silver dendrite nano-surfaces.

These two areas plus the one on aggregation have lead to 9, 11,13 and 9  publications (average >10 per year)  in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 respectively, several of which are in high Impact factor journals such as Chemical Sciences, and Analyst, both journals of the Royal Society of Chemistry and the American Chemical Society journals Analytical Chemistry and Jr. Agricultural and Food Chemistry

Dr Labuza has recently worked on consumer responses to open dating and food storage practices. He was a consultant to the Natural Resourses Defenes Council White Paper  (9/16/2013 ) showing that current food dating practices result in significant food waste because consumers view use by dates as being related to food safety issues rather that food quality issues. He gave 30+ interviews to news writers and radio/TV news cast on this topic. More recently he was a co-author with food safety experts from FMI, GMA, Walmart, IFT Staff, Chilled Foods Assoc. etc which went deeper into the relationship  with food dates and quality loss and safety published as "Applications and Perceptions of Date Labeling"  Comprehensive  Reviews in Food Science  and Food Safety Vol 13 (4) 745-769  (IF 3.5)

The focus of his publications, origin of many coauthors and students, location of presentations, and cooperating organizations such as IUFoST are global, highly diverse, and international in nature. For example, 30 of his former non-US Ph D graduate students, post-docs and visiting scientists have been/are now faculty in foreign universities. Another 12 US and Non-US are faculty in US Food Science and or Nutrition programs. This was the focus of his IFT Bor Luh International Award in 2014. His books, “Food and Your Well Being”  and  “Food Science and Nutritional Health, An Introduction” (both from West Publishing Co., Egan, MN) , the latter co-authored with Prof. John Erdman of the University of Illinois, was used in over 500 undergraduate nutrition/dietetics courses in the USA.  There are few prominent global food and nutrition research centers in the developed and developing world that have not benefited directly from Ted’s participation and enthusiastic involvement in their programs. The Global Food Science and Technology Community continues to benefit indirectly.

Ted is a fellow of both IFT and IUFoST’s International Academy and in 2011 received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Association for Engineering and Food.  He was IFT President in 1989, the year he also received the Nicholas Appert Award, IFT’s highest award. He also was the recipient of the 2013 Minnesota Section Macy Award cited for his work on the water activity of foods. More recently he was nominated by IFT to become a member of the FDA's Food Advisory Committee and was selected and joined the Committee in April.

Note  that Ted was nominated for this award by Prof. Robert Bates (retired, Univ. of Florida. He and Ted were graduate students in Food Science at MIT during 1962 to 1965.