2015 Winners of the University of Guelph GFTC Legacy Fund Awards

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Congratulations to our winners of the 2015 GFTC Legacy Fund awards

Jessica Bannon

MSc Food Science student
Advisory Committee - Prof. Keith Warriner, Dr. Joseph Odumeru (Laboratory Services Branch, Ministry of Environment), Dr. Tatiana Koutchma (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada)

BSc Genetics at University of Western Ontario

Interest in food science came from work experience with Kellogg's and DuPont Pioneer

My project investigates the detection and prevalence of non-O157 Shiga-toxin producing E. coli in beef and will gain insight into the occurrence of this pathogenic bacteria in beef processing and the subsequent risk to consumers.   Current industry-standard diagnostic systems are evaluated and results confirmed with molecular tools such as multiplex PCR.


James De Souza

MSc Food Science student
Advisory Committee - Prof. Shai Barbut, Prof. Massimo Marcone
BSc Food Science at University of Guelph
Research affiliate at Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada 

In this study, the effect of caliber size and fat content on the inactivation of E. coli 0157:H7 and Salmonella spp in dry fermented sausages (DFS) will be examined.  By changing the caliber size of the DFS the resultant change in surface area and water activity will be analyzed to determine its effect on inactivation of E. coli 0157:H7 and Salmonella spp.  This affords the pathogen better survival during the initial fermentation step, thereby creating a worst case scenario.  However, in the present study in addition to caliber size the effects of fat content as well as starter culture type on the test pathogen and sausage structure will be analyzed.  The test pathogen cocktails will be used to inoculate meats and prepare batches of sausage composed of high and low fat concentrations, 3 varying caliber sizes, and two different starter cultures. The sausages will be subjected to industry standard DFS fermentation and dry curing steps and the results of the variable approaches will be analyzed. Upon completion of drying, samples will also undergo a shelf life study to determine not only the microbial stability of the product stored under standard refrigeration temperatures but also the effect that has on the structural properties as well (pH, aw, moisture protein ratio).  This will allow for a thorough understanding of the necessary factors to be considered for fat content and starter culture type for validation studies and also determine the effect of caliber size on the inactivation of E. coli 0157:H7 and Salmonella spp.


Sarah Gooding

MSc Food Safety and Quality Assurance student
Advisory Committee - Prof. Lisa Duizer, Prof. Anne Wilcock
BSc Honours Biological Science at University of Guelph
MBA at Wilfrid Laurier University
Bachelor of Commerce at University of Windsor
I have worked in the food industry for over 15 years. Food safety and Quality is always growing and is a fascinating field of study. It is a great honour to be able to study and conduct research in hopes of making a difference.

Although research and standards are in place through legislation, external audits, customer requirements and risk assessments for many avenues of food contamination, there is little known on the effect of food contamination by the food workers garments. With there being no clear guidance on fabric for food processing, it may be contributing to contamination of food products. The significance of closing this gap is that it will show if there is contamination caused by fibers holding onto foreign material (Dachs et al, 2003) and by break down of the fibers (Ibahim et al, 2012).  The objectives of this study are to provide guidance on fabrics that could be used for food processing garments.


Alanna Goodman

MSc Food Safety and Quality Assurance student
Advisory Committee - Prof. Keith Warriner, Prof. Don Mercer

BSc Honours Biology at Queen’s University

My project looks to advance the work of Ultra violet (UV) light based interventions for use on mushrooms. Mushrooms have been identified as a commodity group of concern with respect to Listeria monocytogenes due to several high profile recalls. The current sanitizer for mushrooms supports less than the recommended 5 log cfu/g reduction of L. monocytogenes however success has been achieved with UV light in previous studies. My project focus is on understanding and testing the continuous UV light treatment of mushrooms so this process can be applied to commercial lines of mushroom production facilities. My goal of the project is to determine if UV light can be a viable alternative treatment to lower the risk of L. monocytogenes survivorship on mushrooms and increase stability of mushrooms during their shelf-life and ultimately reduce the number of recalls in the mushroom industry.  


Saeed Mirzaee Ghazani

PhD Food Science student
Advisory Committee - Prof. Alejandro Marangoni, Prof. Massimo Marcone, Prof. Amanda Wright (Human Health & Nutrition)

BSc Food Science & MSc Food Safety & Quality Control at Shahid Beheshti University

Enzymatic transesterification of high oleic algae oil, high oleic sunflower oil, and fully hydrogenated soybean oil with palm mid fraction and Shea stearin to synthesize cocoa butter equivalents:  Fat blends, formulated by blends of palm mid fraction, fully hydrogenated soybean oil with high oleic acid algae, Shea stearin, high oleic sunflower oil and sunflower oil in different ratios, were subjected to chemical and enzymatic interesterification to synthesize cocoa butter equivalent. Sodium methoxide and Lipozyme TL IM were selected as catalyst for chemical and enzymatic esterification, respectively. The optimum reaction time, temperature, water content and molar ratio of oils and fats blends were determined to produce the highest yield of POS, SOS and POP triacylglycerols. The following parameters, before and after the interesterification reactions, were determined: fatty acid and triacylglycerol compositions, melting point, crystallization temperature, solid fat content, and XRD analysis. 


Kayla Murray

MSc Food Science student
Advisory Committee: Prof. Keith Warriner, Prof. Gopinadhan Paliyath (Plant Agriculture), Dr. Tatiana Koutchmam (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada)

BSc Honours Microbiology at University of Guelph

My research interests are focused on enhancing food safety and extending product shelf life within the produce sector. Currently, my focus has been on gas phase sanitizers to be implemented in the leafy green processing industry. 


Abraham Navarro

MSc Food Safety and Quality Assurance student
Advisory Committee - Prof. Elliott Currie (Department of Management), Prof. Don Mercer

BSc Food Engineering at Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (Mexico)

Over 5 years of work experience in the food processing and natural health industry.  Areas of expertise are in product development, quality control and regulatory affairs.  Research and development of new food products and dietary supplements, assisting with pre-market production trial runs, and participating in internal and third-party audits to comply with regulatory bodies (i.e., Health Canada, US Food and Drug Administration).  Consultant for small businesses regarding nutrition facts labels, formulations and bill of materials. 

Assessment of Good Agricultural Practices on Cocoa and Coffee Farms in Northern Haiti: Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere and presents a unique scenario for the food and agriculture industry because there is no food safety legislation. Haiti Food Hub (HFH) is a social business enterprise run by Haitians whose mission is to promote in Haiti a social agri-business model that is financially self-sustainable by helping small farmers supply quality products while improving the social and environmental conditions. HFH, in partnership with the University of Guelph, is looking to improve the safety and quality of coffee and cocoa beans and gain access to international markets. The application of good agricultural practices (GAPs) leads to improvements of quality, safety and sustainability of agricultural products. The purpose of this study is to assess the current status of GAPs on HFH cocoa and coffee farms in Northern Haiti in order to identify the most common practices in Haiti that would compromise the food safety and quality of the products in the farms, and to provide recommendations with potential solutions to minimize such risks.


Pere Ramel

PhD Food Science student
Advisory - Prof. Alejandro Marangoni

BSc Food Technology at Univ of the Philippines Los Banos, MSc Food Technology /Dairy Science at Wageningen University & Research Centre

I have worked in the food industry as a Research and Development Intern at Friesland Campina Innovation Centre, The Netherlands; Sensory Scientist at Universal Robina Corporation Central Laboratory, Philippines; and Quality Assurance Intern at Nestle Philippines, Inc., Ice Cream and Chilled Dairy Factory.

My research areas of interest include milk fat crystallization, dairy science and technology, and food structuring. My research in Dr. Alejandro Marangoni's Lab involves studying the crystallization behavior and crystal network formation of milk fat within food matrices with the use of different techniques such as x-ray diffraction and microscopy.