NC1023: Engineering for food safety and quality

(Multistate Research Project)

Status: Active

NC1023: Engineering for food safety and quality

Duration: 10/01/2020 to 09/30/2025

Administrative Advisor(s):

NIFA Reps:

Non-Technical Summary

Statement of Issues and Justification


Consumers expect the US food industry to develop and deliver safe, high-quality, nutritious, and healthy food products while also addressing several emerging sustainability issues such as resource consumption, food loss and waste, food waste management, and food safety. With these demands have emerged a need for food engineers to develop and deliver novel solutions to address these competing challenges. However, many key technical hurdles need to be overcome to meet these goals. These technical hurdles include: (a) limited characterization of physical, chemical and biological properties of foods that influence their quality and susceptibility to spoilage and contamination; (b) the need for optimization of existing technologies or discovery and translation of new sustainable food processing and packaging technologies that can deliver safe, nutritious, healthy, and high quality foods; (c) the need for development of novel methods to collect and analyze big data and its utilization in product and process development; (d) development and refinement of mathematical models that can enhance the understanding of fundamental dynamics within food processing operations to enable accurate prediction of safety and quality attributes of foods; and (e) training of the next generation of food industry professionals that are equipped with science and engineering tools to address these issues facing the food industry. To solve these technical hurdles, there is a critical need for interdisciplinary efforts and collaboration among food engineers, food scientists, and food industry professionals across the nation. Only with continued dialog and collaboration will truly transformative solutions be discovered to overcome the challenges facing the US food industry. Due to the collaborative nature of NC-1023 and the widespread participation from universities across the country, this multistate project is well-positioned to tackle these challenges in the next project period.


Food engineering and processing research is critical for the US food industry to develop and process nutritious and safe food products. Food engineering research is an interdisciplinary and collaborative enterprise that includes several fields such as experimental food engineering, mechanical/chemical/electrical engineering, numerical simulation and computational modeling, statistical analysis, biology, chemistry, and bioinformatics, to name a few. Thus, there is an ever-present need for platforms that enable researchers to discuss their approaches and find partners for collaboration. NC-1023 provides this platform. Several multi-state research and education projects have been initiated by NC-1023 members as a result of collaborative teams formed in NC-1023 meetings. For example, a group of NC-1023 members (from Maine, Iowa, Idaho, Virginia, Kentucky, Washington stations) received a USDA-NIFA Higher Education Challenge grant award focusing on enhancing learning outcomes in food engineering and processing courses for non-engineers using student-centered approaches. Another example of this multi-state collaboration is a USDA NIFA award received by a consortium of stations focusing on enhancing low-moisture food safety by improving development and implementation of pasteurization technologies (Michigan, Washington, Nebraska and Georgia). This project highlights the collaboration among diverse stakeholders such as engineers, microbiologists, regulators, industry and extension professionals. Through one of the NC-1023 ad-hoc committees, a collaboration on measurement physical properties was formed with partners from seven stations (Idaho, Washington, California, Utah, Missouri, Georgia, and Wisconsin) which evaluated the efficacy of a commonly conducted rheological test on similar samples, and provided recommendations on appropriate test conditions and parameters that can be easily compared across labs. This information may be of critical importance to the food industry if a company is trying to control the rheological properties of a food matrix and are comparing data across plant sites, or to published values. In addition, NC-1023 meetings served as an important nucleation site for eventual formation of the Society of Food Engineers (SoFE) whose mission is to advance the food engineering discipline through engagement with diverse stakeholders including industry. These examples highlight the impact of NC-1023 multi-state group in addressing the food engineering issues experienced by the food industry. The history of successful collaboration among NC-1023 station members is evident from several such examples that have resulted in numerous collaborative outputs.

In the past 5-year cycle, the NC-1023 group has focused on further advancement of processing techniques and mathematical modeling for enhancement of food quality, safety, and nutritional value. In addition, there was a distinct focus on characterizing physical and biological food properties as well as increasing student and stakeholder education. In the next 5-year project period, the focus of the group will be broadened to include collection, analysis, and utilization of big data for development of sustainable food processing techniques, in addition to (a) understanding the physical, chemical, and biological properties of food materials and food processing byproducts; (b) improving existing and developing new sustainable processing methods and technologies to produce safe, high quality, and nutritious food products, (c) utilization of mathematical modeling to enhance our understanding of changes that occur in food matrices during processing and after consumption; and (d) dissemination of knowledge from research projects to students and stakeholders using novel pedagogical methods. 

The diverse capabilities of the member stations of NC-1023 provide a unique opportunity for collaboration that allows for the group to address the pressing needs of the food industry. For example, current industry trends are being driven by consumer demands for functional food products and ingredients, novel plant-based foods, foods for health, and sustainable ingredients and processes. To meet these consumer demands, there is a need for property characterization using not only traditional methods, but through non-invasive imaging techniques, such as hyperspectral imaging and computed tomography. In addition, new processing methods are being developed and described through mathematical modeling that can be utilized to design foods that are healthy, sustainable, and safe. Further efforts are being undertaken to understand the impact of new processing methods on food behavior and nutrient availability after consumption of said products. Through all these engineering efforts, large amounts of data are generated, including images, property data, processing conditions, etc., which can be useful in formulation of new products, optimization of processes, and quality control, if analyzed correctly using innovative data analysis techniques. As a result of collaborative efforts in these areas, it is expected that the impacts from this project will be 1) utilization of big data for advancing food processing and improving food quality and safety, 2) development and modeling of new processing technologies to produce sustainable, healthy food products, and 3) improvement of student and stakeholder learning as a result of education and outreach activities using novel pedagogical methods. These outcomes will be important to enhance the competitiveness of the US food manufacturing industry, as they strive to fulfill consumer demands for sustainable, safe and healthy food products.

Related, Current and Previous Work

Our previous work from the past 5-year project (NC1023) has produced numerous successful multi-state collaborations that were facilitated through the committee and have led to numerous outputs and impacts in food engineering research as well as development of novel tools to disseminate food engineering knowledge to students (See Attachment 1 - Outputs for a summary of group outputs from the past 4 years). Our work has focused on quantifying food properties, development of novel processes and modeling of these processes, and using pedagogical tools to disseminate our new knowledge to students and stakeholders. We are continuing our work in these areas, but have expanded our focus in this new project to sensor development and big data collection, data-driven model development, process development for sustainable and healthy foods, and assessment of pedagogical tools in delivering food engineering content to undergraduate students. Some of the notable collaborative works that have led our group to these focus areas are described below.

In the last five decades, food engineers have made significant contributions to development of methods to measure physical properties of foods. The MI and IN stations collaboratively worked on the development and validation of models for predicting the thermo-physical properties of foods based on food composition to use in thermal processing. From this information, it became clear that a new sensor was necessary, and the focus of this area in the next project will be to develop a new rapid-testing instrument to measure temperature-dependent thermal properties at elevated temperatures, in collaboration with the food industry.

In addition to design and development of novel sensors for use in food processing, NC1023 members have had successful past collaborations on measurement of food physical properties. Seven member stations (MO, GA, WI, UT, WA, CA, and ID) collaboratively determined the inter-laboratory variation of selected rheological properties of a tomato-based emulsion, and made recommendations for test parameters and ranges that can suitably be compared when data is generated on different pieces of equipment or using different rheometer geometry diameter (Tan et al. 2019). These collaborations will continue into the new project and will be expanded to not only quantification of food physical properties, but also measurement of food properties that relate to the food breakdown and nutrient processes after food consumption, which will lead to development of novel health-promoting foods and food ingredients.

There have been a significant number of collaborations between NC1023 members in food process development and evaluation. One such example is a collaboration between NE, NJ, and NY stations to develop novel processing strategies for fluid foods and beverages. Through multiple USDA-funded projects, this collaboration investigated processing techniques such as high pressure processing, pulsed electric field processing, ultraviolet light processing, forward osmosis, and membrane filtration. The VA and MN stations collaborated to determine the functional component extraction from barley malt rootlets in collaboration with the food industry. The OR and WA stations studied conventional (hot air) and advanced (radio frequency) drying technologies to improve the quality and shelf life of hazelnuts. A group of eight stations (MI, NE, VA, OR, ME, IN, IA, MS) collaborated on an inter-laboratory comparison of extraction technologies, extraction conditions, and measurement methods in extraction of phenolic compounds from grape pomace, coordinated by the NE and MI stations. Due to the success of these collaborations, the current project will expand collaborations between members to a variety of processing technologies, including nanotechnology, cold plasma, ozone, and others as described in the Methods section. In addition to measurement of food quality and safety parameters, collaborations in the new project will be developed to assess the potential health benefits of foods by measurement of their breakdown and nutrient release during digestion in vitro or in vivo.

Due to the complementary expertise of NC1023 members in development of multi-physics models as well as process development and food property quantification, there have been many successful collaborations within the group combining modeling efforts with experimental measurements on a food process or food system, which have produced numerous, broad outcomes. Collaboration between NY and OH stations led to a novel mechanistic understanding of attachment and internalization of bacteria in fresh produce with NY station performing the modeling complemented by the experimental work at the OH station. Work included mechanisms of contamination in vacuum cooling (liquid water and gas-driven), irrigation water use, post-harvest storage and transport, and the fundamentals of how light can induce chemotactic transport of bacteria. Collaborations between eight stations (NY, CA, IL, MI, NJ, OH, TX, WA) led to the first ever Wiki site for mathematical modeling of food quality and safety that was accessed widely by national and international industrial and academic researchers (>6600 hits the last time it could be checked). The Wiki platform for collaboration has developed computing related issues (it was hacked recently and thus is unavailable at the moment) - the content is in the midst of being transported to a more structured learning management system CANVAS that is harder to hack. Collaboration between NY and MN stations led to the study of moisture migration in a sandwich system for the US Army. Reducing oil content in fried foods through understanding of frying mechanisms was achieved through collaborations in multiscale modeling of fluid and heat transport (IL, CA). Starch extrusion parameters in food and feed applications were optimized using complementary modeling and experimentation (IL, NE). Improving quality of frozen foods (reducing thermo-mechanical damage) subjected to freeze-thaw cycles during shipping, storage, and distribution, was achieved using collaborative experimentation and a two-scale model of the Hybrid Mixture Theory (WA, IL). As these collaborations have been successful in the past project, a similar approach will be used, and collaborations will be expanded in the new project to other food products and processes such as modeling of fluid flow and heat transfer in a commercial mushroom slicer (PA, IL), and modeling of diffusion and structural changes during food digestion (CA, NY, IL). In an attempt to better meet the needs of the food industry in dealing with large data sets that can be gathered using online equipment and sensors, the new project will also expand these collaborative efforts around mathematical modeling to any larger, data-driven efforts within the group.

Another area where NC1023 members have had previous and current successful collaborations is in development and utilization of pedagogical strategies in teaching food science and food engineering. In a project led by the New York station and funded by USDA, six simulation-based modules were developed to enhance food safety education for scientists and engineers. These modules were deployed at 13 different stations (Ohio, Texas, California, Nebraska, New York, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Illinois, Minnesota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Maryland) as well as Chapman University. Instructors conducted pre- and post-module knowledge surveys to assess student learning as a result of the module, and research findings have been presented at several workshops and case studies. A collaborative symposium at the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) on use of simulation tools in teaching food safety was co-moderated by members of the New York and California stations in 2019. Building on such successful previous collaborations, another group of six NC1023 stations (Maine, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Virginia, Washington) worked together to develop a funded USDA project on innovative pedagogical ideas to scientifically address issue of learning difficulty experienced by food science students in food engineering and food processing courses. This collaboration will continue into the new project, and efforts to develop and deploy novel pedagogical strategies will be expanded in the new project to information on food physical properties; a topic common to many courses taught by NC1023 members.

In development of the new project objectives, measures were taken to ensure that there was not a significant amount of technical overlap with this project and other current projects. A search was conducted in CRIS using keywords food, engineering, food engineering, and food quality to look for other related or overlapping projects. Several active projects exist that deal with food and various food quality aspects, including NC1196, S294, S1077, and NE1939. However, these projects are either commodity specific (S294, fresh-cut vegetables and fruits), focused on microbiology and not food engineering (S1077, microbiology and food safety focus), or focused on nutrition and health outcomes as a result of food consumption (NC1196 and NE1939).


  1. Characterize physical, chemical, and biological properties of raw and processed foods, by-products, and packaging materials.
  2. Develop advanced and sustainable processing and packaging technologies to transform raw materials into safe, high quality, health-promoting, and value-added foods.
  3. Develop mechanistic and data-driven mathematical models to enhance understanding and optimization of processes and products that will ensure sustainable and agile food manufacturing for safe, high quality, and health-promoting foods.
  4. Adapt pedagogical strategies involving novel educational approaches to enhance and assess student learning of food engineering.


Objective 1: Characterize physical, chemical and biological properties of raw and processed foods, and by-products.

In the last five decades, food engineers have made significant contributions to development of methods to measure physical properties of foods. For the development of the next generation of food products, processes, and packaging technologies, a deep knowledge of the properties of food, by-products, and their contact surfaces will be needed at molecular and nano levels. Engineers have recognized that innovations of the 21st century will result from the integration of molecular phenomena with macroscale behavior.

MI and IN will develop a new rapid-testing instrument to measure temperature-dependent thermal properties at elevated temperatures. WA, SD, OH, IL, NY, TN and food companies will use this instrument in their research. SD, OH, and other stations will develop novel biosensors using nanostructured particles to serve as anti-microbial agents. MI and NE will use high throughput analytical techniques such as Mass Tandem chromatography (e.g. inductively coupled plasma, atomic absorption, gas and liquid chromatography) which are critical for the quantitative determination of chemical and functional properties in food and packaging materials. NM, SD, MS, CA, and MI will isolate and characterize plant-based protein using SDS-PAGE, CD spectrometry, Zetasizer, SH-groups with Ellman’s test, and shotgun proteomics.

NE will design a phase behavior system that will be capable of measuring and observing the volumetric expansion and melting behavior of polymers and solid lipids in pressurized gases. This information will help us develop efficient enzymatic reactions in pressurized gases, pasteurization of foods and food ingredients using pressurized gases, extraction or particle formation using supercritical fluids.  NE and CA will investigate the relationship between porosity and digestion of polysaccharides and their effect on gut health.  NE, ID, SD, CA, and IL will characterize the microstructure of 3D printed foods and the effect of microstructure on the human digestion.  NE will characterize water-insoluble bioactive compounds in terms of crystallinity using x-ray diffraction, and investigate the effect of crystalline structure on bioavailability in collaboration with CA. NE, ID, CA, and IL will investigate the gelation mechanisms and interfacial phenomena between polysaccharides, proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids to obtain food pastes for 3D food printing.

Objective 2: Develop advanced and sustainable processing and packaging technologies to transform raw materials into safe, high quality, health promoting and value-added foods

Develop and advance processes and packages by maximizing the utilization of raw materials, improving process efficiency (water, energy) and reducing waste (IA, IL, OH, KY, GA, MN, MS, OR, NJ, SD, IN, CA, NE). Examples include developing environmentally friendly cleaning and sanitation techniques and packaging materials, advancing thermal and nonthermal technologies for improved process efficiencies, and investigating the strategies to reduce and reuse food processing byproducts and/or food residue.

First, the group plans to develop value-added products (including alternative plant and animal proteins, bioactives, and functional foods) using innovative cross-disciplinary technologies to meet consumer demand for safe, high quality, and health-promoting food products with extended shelf-life and convenience (OR, MN, IL, CA, MS, OH, OR, GA, NJ, KY, IA, NM). Technologies to be investigated include microwave heating (NC, MN, WA), radiofrequency processing (GA, TN, NE, OR, WA), ohmic heating (OH), irradiation (MI, MS, TX), high pressure based technologies (IA, MS, NE, NJ, OH,  PA, TN, VA, WA), ultrasound (IL, KY, CA), ozone (OH, MN), chlorine dioxide (IN, OH), ultraviolet light (FL, NJ, MN), pulsed light and membrane separation (FL,OH, KY, MN, NY, CA), high electric field processing (OH, WA, MN, HI), extrusion technology (NM, NJ, KY, SD, OH), cold plasma (GA, KY, NJ, IA), hyperspectral imaging (KY, MN), antimicrobial packaging (OR, VA, VSU, GA), supercritical fluid technology (NE, CA), additive manufacturing (NE, CA), and nano-technology (CA, IA, IL, OR, TN, TX, VSU, NY, GA, NE).

Additionally, the group plans to collaborate with industrial partners to identify scale-up challenges and assist in technology transfer for commercialization. Stations will conduct pilot plant studies to understand scale-up challenges associated with the technology developed in the laboratory prior to industrial implementation (IL, MN, MO, OH, OR). Adequate efforts will be made to understand lethal dosage uniformity (pressure, heat, electric field, plasma, and ultrasound) (IL, NJ, OH, MN, TX, NJ, GA). Stations will conduct industrial outreach through a variety of modes of delivery including workshops, short courses, pilot plant demonstrations, contract-based services, webinars, websites, and food processor fact sheets. These activities will help to deliver research findings to food industry stakeholders and address their food processing and food safety needs (OH, NJ, OR, GA, MN, NE).

Objective 3: Develop mechanistic and data-driven mathematical models to enhance understanding and optimization of processes and products that will ensure sustainable, competitive, and agile food manufacturing for safe, high quality, and health-promoting foods.

The proposed collaborative work is discussed in terms of three areas: 1) Develop broad-based frameworks to understand the physical and chemical mechanisms in transforming raw materials into products; 2) Develop kinetic models for safety and quality primarily in terms of rate kinetics for microbiological and chemical changes; and 3) Integrate the mechanistic and/or data-driven models in both the above areas to achieve optimization at the individual product to industry scale.

In area 1, high-pressure homogenization for improved quality of beverages will be modeled to obtain enhanced uniformity of pressure, shear, and temperature distribution in the valve geometry (OH, NY). Low-crystallinity bioactive nanoparticles for increased bioavailability will be obtained through modeling the diffusion of bioactive compounds in nanoporous food matrices in supercritical carbon dioxide (NE, IL). Flow of supercritical carbon dioxide-expanded lipid mixtures through nozzles will be modeled to control the particle morphology, size, and loading efficiency of novel lipid-based bioactive carriers (NE, NY). Minimizing damage to food structure during freeze-thaw cycles will be achieved through the modeling of fluid, heat and solute transport in foods subjected to such cycles (IL, WA). Validation protocols for FSMA required sanitation processes for a commercial mushroom slicer will be developed by determining the cold spots within the complex geometry of the slicer enabled through modeling of the fluid flow and the heat transfer (PA, IL). Multiscale modeling of the diffusion and structural changes during digestion of foods will be developed to optimize food breakdown and subsequent functional properties (CA, NY, IL).

In area 2, validation of baking and other temperature/moisture-dynamic processes will be improved by developing and testing novel Salmonella inactivation models (MI, IN). Rate of extraction of bioactive compounds and macromolecule fractionation from food processing wastes will be improved by developing a kinetic model of the process as a function of stressors like ultrasonication or pulsed-ultraviolet light (KY and VA). Release of corn and blueberry anthocyanins in alginate-pectin hydrogels will be better understood using modeling of diffusion and convective flow processes in the hydrogel matrices (OH, IL).

In area 3, safety of low moisture foods such as powders, nuts, and grains will be improved through a comprehensive understanding of radio-frequency pasteurization processes combined with microbial inactivation through modeling (TN, GA, OR, NE, WA). Attachment and internalization of microbes on fresh produce surfaces such as spinach and their mitigation strategies will be studied using mechanistic modeling (OH, NY).

Objective 4: Adapt pedagogical strategies involving novel educational approaches to enhance and assess student learning of food engineering.

The NC1023 committee remains committed to improving student learning in the area of food engineering and will continue to build on successes of previous years in this area. During the previous project, the NY station lead a USDA-funded project on simulation-based enhancement of learning of food safety, and developed six learning modules that were implemented and assessed in 17 courses in 14 universities (most of these are members of NC1023) over a five-year period. Effectiveness of the module-based approach was sustained across subject matter (microbiology, processing, and risk assessment), disciplines (food science and engineering) and implementations. Students and instructors’ survey responses indicated the modules’ value in real-world and practical problem-solving ability. The self-learning module-based approach to introduce interdisciplinary content was proven successful from this previous project, and the group wants to build on this approach during the next project period.

A new plan was started this year in conjunction with the Physical Properties Ad hoc committee to develop learning modules around physical properties of importance in food engineering. In this collaboration, 11 of the NC1023 stations plan to develop teaching material in food physical, chemical, and biological properties for a food engineering course (prepared carefully for dual use in engineering as well as food science courses, with the learning outcomes compatible with the learning outcomes of ABET and IFT, respectively). Almost every university has a course in food physical and other properties. However, particularly for food engineers, there is no coherent teaching material in terms of textbooks, etc., to teach food properties. We propose to build on this approach over the next phase of NC1023. We will develop Learning Management Software (LMS)-based instructional modules. The modules will incorporate web-based active learning principles with instructional videos and quizzes, will be available to anyone, anytime, anywhere, and will be editable and customizable. The modules will involve all aspects of food properties—measurement, prediction, and process sensitivity. We will develop this for a large number of thermophysical properties of interest (e.g., thermal, rheological, dielectric, glass transition). As many (if not all) of the NC1023 stations will build 1-2 modules each, particular care will be taken to develop these modules in a coherent manner such that they are presented uniformly from one property to the next. For example, all modules will have the components—learning outcomes, pre- and post-assessment, introduction to the property, in addition to measurement and prediction mentioned above. A framework inside the same LMS will integrate all modules into one superstructure that mirrors many university courses on engineering properties, making them readily usable in such a course. Depending on the success of the modules on properties, we may broaden the scope of our work to other areas such as process modeling, and perhaps even an entire course on food engineering.

To improve learning from these modules, we will incorporate active learning strategies that have been demonstrated to enhance learning. Research overwhelmingly indicates interactive multimedia learning tools can help audiences understand concepts better than traditional educational practices, and are powerful tools to change behavior. Learning technologies developed within these collaborations may use mechanistic model-based simulations, scientific visualizations, animations, and interactive educational technologies based on the educational and research expertise needed by the formal classroom learners or industry stakeholders. Collaboration through a large number of NC 1023 participants will provide the critical information on the effectiveness of this scalable digital learning approach over various subject matter, disciplines, and student/instructor background, making this approach robust and sustainable.

To evaluate the learning from these modules, we will use sound pedagogical research strategies to assess learning outcomes. Classes will be used over the course of the five years for testing specific learning modules already created, or in development, and to use pedagogical techniques to assess their efficacy. For example, the benefits of these modules to student learning will be assessed by splitting a class into two cohorts, one that is taught in traditional modality (current version of lecture, laboratory or their mix) and one that uses these enhanced learning modules to cover engineering properties. In this way, a direct comparison of student learning will be enabled. These results will then guide further development of these learning tools. Our formative and summative evaluation will be published in food science and/or engineering education journals so others can benefit directly from the use of the modules or indirectly by using the template to build additional modules in other areas for educational enhancement.

Measurement of Progress and Results


  • 1. Design of new devices and biosensors for measurement of food properties, such as a novel rapid-testing instrument for thermal properties.
  • 2. Development of food products and ingredients to promote health and wellness, with analyzed data on the impact of physical properties of foods and bioactive compounds on human digestion and nutrient availability.
  • 3. New technologies for processing food with improved safety and quality, and data on the impact of these processes on food properties.
  • 4. Systems-level understanding of food quality and safety development in complex processes involving multi-physics with chemical and biological reactions, that will be made available as workshops, websites, research publications and computer models to industry and academia.
  • 5. A series of modules on food properties for use in either a food properties course or as supplemental material in a food engineering course (for food scientists).

Outcomes or Projected Impacts

  • 1. Consumers will benefit from availability of safe, high quality, health-promoting food products. Food industry will benefit from increased economic competitiveness from knowledge on these products and how they can be processed.
  • 2. The newly developed sustainable and green food processing technologies will optimize the efficiency of food systems and reduce environmental impact of involved industries.
  • 3. Mechanistic understanding and optimization of food safety/quality will make novel product/process development faster and less resource intensive for the food industry, and provide a vastly improved knowledge base for researchers.
  • 4. Enhanced student learning of food engineering through research-based education strategies.
  • 5. Training of the next generation of food industry professionals in food engineering, processing safety, and quality.


(2020):Data generated from inter-laboratory testing of bioactive compound extraction will be analyzed. Two or three unit operations or food products that could be processed differently will be defined by members to focus on for future collaborations. Experimental work that could be utilized in multi-physics models will be identified. Develop one physical property teaching module (Module 1) and utilize at one station.

(2021):Data from inter-laboratory comparisons of bioactive compound extraction will be published and presented at IFT. A novel thermo-physical property sensor under development will be shared for inter-laboratory testing. Utilize and assess effectiveness of teaching Module 1 at two or three stations; start work on Module 2 for a different physical property.

(2022):Data will be collected on impact of processing technologies on product quality, safety, and nutrient availability. Data from sensing and property measurements will be presented at IFT or CoFE. Results from multi-physics models will be compared to experimental work. Revise teaching Module 1 based on assessment data, utilize and assess Module 2 at two or three stations, begin work on Module 3.

(2023):Data on impact of various processing technologies on product quality, safety, and nutrient availability will be published and presented at IFT. Perform sensitivity analysis on the models to achieve optimum product and process parameters. Roll out teaching Module 1 for use and assessment at all stations, revise Module 2 based on assessment data, utilize and assess Module 3 at two or three stations, begin work on Module 4.

(2024):A workshop or symposia on the use of processing to improve product quality and health benefits will be developed at IFT to present collaborative results. Results comparing modeling and experimental work will be published and presented at IFT or CoFE. Roll out teaching Module 2 for use and assessment at all stations, revise Module 3 based on assessment data, utilize and assess Module 4 at two or three stations, begin work on Module 5.

Projected Participation

View Appendix E: Participation

Outreach Plan

The group is planning several types of outreach activities that will allow for project results to reach diverse stakeholder groups, including other academic researchers, graduate and undergraduate students, the food industry, and consumers. These planned outreach activities include:

  • Collaborative research that will be published in peer-reviewed journals. This approach will also extend to ad-hoc collaborations among NC-1023 members.

  • Propose and organize relevant symposia in national and international conferences such as IFT, IAFP, CoFE, ICEF, and IUFoST.

  • Pilot-plant demonstrations will be developed with industry stakeholders and food manufacturers and regulators for training and transferring technology.

  • Programs will be developed to promote economic growth by training entrepreneurs in the food industry. Special efforts will be made to provide consultation to minority entrepreneurs.

  • A series of webinars based on topics that are relevant to the diverse stakeholders will be developed for dissemination of the state-of-the art on various topics of interest. Several NC-1023 members also have extension appointments that will enhance the reach of our programs to not only students, but to the food industry and other food commodity groups.

  • A symposia or workshop will be organized on enhancing learning outcomes in food engineering and processing courses for non-engineers using student-centered approaches at IFT or CoFE.

  • Educational models will be developed, including mathematical and animation models, that will be available for use to all the stakeholders for education and training.


The group is organized through an Executive Committee and a Steering Committee. The Executive Committee is comprised of the Past Chair, Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary, and the Chair of the Steering Committee. The Secretary is elected at the annual meeting each year, then becomes the Vice Chair in the subsequent year, while the Vice Chair becomes the Chair, and the Chair becomes the Past Chair. The Secretary is responsible for updating the email list from NIMSS, sending communications about upcoming meetings to members, taking minutes at the annual meeting, and submitting the annual report through the NIMSS system. The Chair is responsible to prepare the annual meeting schedule and run the meeting. The other members of the Executive Committee support the Secretary and the Chair in these activities through email discussions and conference calls.

The Steering Committee consists of five members, one of whom is the Steering Committee Chair. To be eligible to serve on the Steering Committee, members must have: (i) been a Past Chair; (ii) been part of NC1023 for at least 5 years; and (iii) be present at the annual meeting when the election is taking place. The term for a Steering Committee member is two years; two consecutive terms can be served by any given member. After the term limit, the member must wait at least one year prior to being re-elected to the Steering Committee. At each annual meeting, either two or three Steering Committee members will be elected by the group. Prior to the Steering Committee election, the Chair will approach each eligible member to confirm their interest, or allow them to withdraw their name from consideration for that year. Once the list of eligible members has been compiled, an election will take place by anonymous ballot. Each station will be allowed to vote for two or three candidates (the number of candidates selected depends on the number of open spots on the Steering Committee). The Steering Committee members will vote within the committee to determine the Steering Committee Chair. The Steering Committee works to promote interactions with industry and other stakeholders, to keep a record of successful collaborative efforts, and to maintain focus of the group on trends and areas of high profile, national research need.

In-person meetings are held annually, typically in October of each year. The meeting site is at or near a member station, and is hosted by the official representative of that station. The meeting site for each subsequent meeting is discussed by the entire committee during the annual meeting. The Chair works with the meeting host and the Executive Committee to develop the annual meeting agenda. The annual meeting agenda includes technical station reports from each represented station, discussion of current collaborations and areas where members are seeking potential collaborations, as well as updates and meetings of the ad hoc technical committees.

The success of NC1023 over the past several decades has been due to the strong collaborations formed between the members, allowing the group to tackle challenges that are not easily resolved by a single research group. Part of these collaborations are formed through the ad hoc committees. Ad hoc committees are formed around technical areas of imminent research need. Each year, the ad hoc committees are reviewed by the members during the annual meeting to determine if new ad hoc committees are needed based on current research problems and interest across stations, or if inactive committees should be dissolved. Any interested members can join an ad hoc committee; these committees meet at the annual meeting to discuss possibilities for collaboration on specific research topics of interest. Ad hoc committees are encouraged to continue to meet during the year via videoconference to continue collaborative efforts on important research topics.

Literature Cited

Juzhong Tan, Silvana Martini, Ye Wang, Fanbin Kong, Richard Hartel, Gustavo Barbosa-Cánovas, Bongkosh Vardhanabhuti, Gail Bornhorst, Silvia Keppler, Helen Joyner. Inter-Laboratory Measurement of Rheological Properties of Tomato Salad Dressing. 84(11): 3204 – 3212.


Land Grant Participating States/Institutions


Non Land Grant Participating States/Institutions

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