U.S. Food Scientist to Receive World's Highest Food Honor

Jun 18, 2007, 01:00 ET from Institute of Food Technologists

    WASHINGTON, June 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Philip E. Nelson,
 president of the Institute of Food Technologists in 2002 and food science
 professor at Purdue University, will be recognized today as the 2007
 recipient of the World Food Prize in an announcement here at the U.S.
 Department of State.
     Nelson has been selected for the world's highest honor in food for his
 achievements in the development of bulk aseptic packaging and storage which
 allows highly perishable foods like fruits and vegetables to be distributed
 globally in a sterile environment without refrigeration and without
 significant loss of nutrients.
     Today's announcement will include Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dr. Norman
 Borlaug, chairman of the World Food Prize selection committee, World Food
 Prize President Ambassador Kenneth M. Quinn, and be presided over by Daniel
 Sullivan, the acting undersecretary of state for economic, business and
 agricultural affairs.
     "Dr. Nelson's pioneering work has made it possible to produce
 ultra-large scale quantities of high quality food," says Ambassador Quinn.
 "The food can be stored for long periods of time and transported anywhere
 in the world without losing nutritional value or taste."
     This has proven to be a critical advancement in times of food crisis,
 according to Quinn.
     With the aid of aseptic food technology potable water and emergency
 food aid was distributed to survivors of the 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia
 and to the U.S. victims of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, as well as to other
 crisis situations worldwide.
     Nelson's innovative research led to the development of preserving and
 transporting perishable foods without refrigeration in carbon steel tanks
 ranging in size from delivery truck to ocean freighter. By coating tanks
 with epoxy resin and sterilizing valves and filters, food can be stored and
 removed without introducing contaminants. As a result, enormous volumes of
 food are safely stored and shipped around the globe for final processing,
 packaging and distribution.
     "Bulk aseptic processing and packaging is recognized among the world's
 greatest food innovations" during the past 70 years, according to Al
 Clausi, former IFT president and current member of the World Food Prize
 Council of Advisors that includes former U.S. Presidents Jimmy Carter and
 George H.W. Bush and former Philippine president Corazon Aquino, among
     "This modern advancement in food science and technology compares with
 Clarence Birdseye's frozen foods, the microwave oven, and concentrated
 frozen juices" developed by U.S. Department of Agriculture research labs,
 says Clausi.
     Nelson is the first food scientist and second IFT member to receive
 this highest honor.
     In 1991, Nevin S. Scrimshaw was recognized for his lifetime
 achievements in identifying and fortifying local food sources to reduce
 diseases associated with malnutrition in developing nations around the
 world. Among his other many achievements, Scrimshaw also founded the
 Department of Nutrition, Food Science and Technology at Massachusetts
 Institute of Technology in 1961.
     Nelson has been involved in the storage and packaging of food since
 childhood. In his early years working on his family's tomato farm and
 canning factory in Morristown, Ind., he earned the crown of "Tomato King"
 at the Indiana State Fair.
     The 2007 World Food Prize and its $250,000 award will be formally
 presented to Nelson on October 18 during ceremonies at the Iowa State
 Capitol, part of the World Food Prize's Norman E. Borlaug International
 Symposium. Further information about the World Food Prize and the Laureate
 Award Ceremony and Symposium can be found at http://www.worldfoodprize.org.
     The U.S. Department of State is located at 2201 C Street NW.
     Founded in 1939, and with world headquarters in Chicago, Illinois, USA,
 the Institute of Food Technologists is a not-for-profit international
 scientific society with 22,000 members working in food science, technology
 and related professions in academia, government and industry. As the
 society for food science and technology, IFT brings sound science to the
 public discussion of food issues. For more on IFT, see http://www.ift.org.

SOURCE Institute of Food Technologists