The 2021 Harold Macy Food Science and Technology Award was given to Donald Schaffner—extension specialist in Food Science and Distinguished Professor in the Department of Food Science—in recognition of his outstanding research to facilitate the adoption of predictive food microbiology and risk-based thinking in government and private industry to support science-based risk management and assurance of food safety. He was nominated by Mukund Karwe, Distinguished Professor, Department of Food Science.
“This is quite an honor to be selected by the Minnesota section of the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) for this prestigious award.” Said Schaffner. “It is especially nice for me given my association with many wonderful Minnesotan food scientists over the years”.
The Macy Food Science & Technology Award, “Macy Award,” was established in 1981, and is given annually to recognize an outstanding example of food technology transfer or cooperation between scientists or technologists in any of the following settings: academic, government, and private industry. The purpose of the award is to advance the profession and practice of food technology and to honor Dr. Harold Macy, Dean Emeritus of the University of Minnesota and Founding Member of IFT.
Schaffner’s research interests include quantitative microbial risk assessment, predictive food microbiology, hand washing and cross-contamination. He has authored more than 190 peer-reviewed publications, and numerous book chapters and abstracts. He has been the recipient of more than $9 million in grants and contracts, a majority in the form of competitive national grants.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic Schaffner has answered questions about the benefits of hand sanitizers versus washing your hands, whether you need to sanitize your groceries, wash fresh produce with soap and many other questions while being interviewed by multiple national publications like the The New York Times, The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and Atlantic magazine as well as a whole host of radio and TV stations across the country. He uses his Twitter account @bugcounter to post threads discussing these issues for his enthusiastic followers. COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2 are also frequent topics on his two podcasts, Food Safety Talk, and Risky or Not.
See the MN IFT website for more information on the Macy Award and its recipients.