2017 Winners of the University of Guelph GFTC Legacy Fund Awards

Congratulations to our winners of the 2017 GFTC Legacy Fund awards

Nawaz Ahmed

PhD Food Science student
Advisor - Paul Spagnuolo

BSc Health Studies and Biostatistics, MSc Pharmacy - University of Waterloo

This research is an extension of on-going ground-breaking research on avocado derived lipids and continues to develop validated analytical methods for the detection and quantification of bio-active lipids in avocado fruit and seed extracts.  In direct collaboration with an industry partner, Advanced Orthomolecular Research, this research is leading the pre-clinical, clinical, and commercial development of an avocado derived nutraceutical for a variety of health applications. 


Jovana Mitich

MSc Food Safety & Quality Assurance student
Advisor - Anne Wilcock

BSc Honours Biological Sciences - University of Guelph
Certificate in Food Science - University of Guelph

Upon graduating from the University of Guelph, I began working as a Technical Support Coordinator for a leading public health company.  Throughout my career, I have expanded my duties to include food safety auditing and consulting.

My project will use qualitative research methods to examine the relationship between compensation and food safety.  With assistance from NSF International, industry individuals within North America will be contacted to participate in focus groups and surveys. The results from this study will be useful in determining additional mitigation practices in the food safety industry.


Torie Murphy

MSc Food Safety & Quality Assurance student
Advisor  - Robert Hanner

BSc Honours Toxicology - University of Guelph

Food fraud is an issue that has become increasingly prevalent in the food industry.  With that being said, my research interests involve using molecular diagnostic techniques as a means of testing the authenticity of seafood products. In collaboration with TRU-ID, a third-party ingredient authentication organization, I am conducting a study examining the authenticity of commonly mislabeled seafood products. Through DNA barcoding methods and comparing results to regulatory framework, the prevalence of seafood mislabeling from certain retail outlets will be determined. My goal for this project is to provide evidence to further support the use of genomic approaches as control measures or anti-counterfeit tools in the food industry.


Atinuke Olajide

PhD Food Science
Advisor - Gisele LaPointe

BSc Food Science & Technology - University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Nigeria
MSc Animal Derived Foods - University of Copenhagen, Denmark
MSc Food Technology - University of Helsinki, Finland

Recently, growing concerns about variations in dairy products quality from batch to batch have been raised in Ontario. As such, it is vital to understand key factors that come to play in food production and processing to keep variations in check since quality defects in the dairy industry contribute to food wastage and economic losses.
Quality defects experienced by dairy processing industries include early and late blowing in cheese due to some facultatively heterofermentative lactobacilli and Clostridium spores respectively, quality and shelf life concerns in products manufactured from reconstituted dairy powders due to spore formers which either survive the heat treatment or are present as biofilms in the powder processing plant, spoilage in pasteurized fluid milk products induced by thermodurics and sporeformers that prevent the extension of product shelf life.

This research seeks to develop guidelines to control thermoduric and thermophilic vegetative bacteria & their spores in milk production and dairy processing in Ontario by deepening our understanding of their source, occurrence, relationship, diversity and succession in the dairy plant. It will be of interest to develop rapid detection methods and investigate if the problematic organisms present in the bulk tank are genetically similar to those instigating problems in the final products. To this end, this research will investigate the microbial diversity of milk processing and track contamination sources from the bulk tank to the finished products using molecular methods.


Cassandra Patterson

MSc FSQA program
Advisor - Anne Wilcock

BSc Honours Chemistry - University of Guelph

I completed my BSc in Chemistry at the University of Guelph in 2009 before obtaining a job working in a food safety lab focusing on pesticides in foods. After 7 years of working in the food safety field, I decided to pursue my Masters in Food Safety and Quality Assurance in order to strengthen my background in food safety and to further my career. For my research project, I combined my knowledge of pesticides and my love of tea into a qualitative based study. My project focuses on the consumer perception of pesticides in tea, and how this impacts purchasing behaviour. 


Huizi Zuo

MSc Food Safety & Quality Assurance student
Advisor - Jeff Farber

BSc Food Science - University of Manitoba
My project focuses on using deodorized mustard powder to control Salmonella spp. in fermented sausages. Mustard can be used in processed meat products because it has high protein content and acts as a binder. It has been proven that deodorized mustard powder has potential to inhibit the growth of common foodborne pathogens in dry fermented sausage such as E.coli O157:H7, Salmonella spp, and Listeria monocytogenes. Especially with E.coli O157:H7, it had been proved that using mustard powder in dry fermented sausage could achieve a 5-log reduction regulated by the Canada Food Inspection Agency.  Thus, it is essential to evaluate the use of deodorized mustard to control Salmonella spp. in dry fermented sausages. In the present study, deodorized mustard powder is added to dry fermented sausage during manufacturing, and the sausage samples are analyzed for its effect on Salmonella spp, starter culture, and physico-chemical characteristics. It is expected that the deodorized mustard powder in dry fermented sausage acts as an antimicrobial against Salmonella spp. showing a 5 log reduction. Deodorized mustard has no effect on starter cultures, and no effect on water activity or flavor at certain concentrations. My goal for this project is to examine the performance of deodorized mustard in fermented pork sausage to inhibit the growth of Salmonella spp.; and to investigate the in vitro performance of mustard samples on Salmonella isolates.


Matthew Zwicker

MSc Food Science program
Advisor Loong-Tak Lim

B ENG Chemical Engineering - Dalhousie University

My research is focused on the development and redesign of single-serve coffee capsules.  Within recent years, single-serve brewing has become an increasingly popular coffee preparation method worldwide. One of the largest problems with single-serve brewing technology is the large amount of plastic waste from the disposal of the single-serve capsules. My project will focus on developing a modular device for testing new capsule designs featuring reduced material volume and improved coffee grind extraction.