Boor receives top honor from New York's food protection association

Dean Kathryn Boor
Dean Kathryn Boor

By Sarah Thompson
November 18, 2014

Kathryn Boor, Cornell University’s Ronald P. Lynch Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, has been honored with the top award from the New York State Association for Food Protection (NYSAFP).

Boor is the 2012 recipient of the Emmett R. Gauhn Memorial Award, which recognizes a member for outstanding contributions to the NYSAFP or in the fields of food sanitation and food protection. The award was presented September 19 at the association's 89th annual conference in Syracuse. The NYSAFP is an affiliate organization of the International Association for Food Protection.

Boor's commitment to NYSAFP began in 1995, when she was elected to the board of directors. She served as president from 1999-2000 and today is the association's scientific adviser and Cornell coordinator, as well as a member of the Food Committee and a frequent speaker at its annual conference.

As a professor of food science, Boor's work encompasses research and outreach priorities. She has directed the Department of Food Science's Food Safety Laboratory since 1994, and is also the director of the Cornell Milk Quality Improvement Program (MQIP). Boor's research focuses on identifying the genetic factors linking the ability of disease- and spoilage-causing bacteria to survive under varying harsh conditions, including in food and food processing facilities, with their ability to cause disease in humans and animals. Recent breakthroughs include the Boor lab's discovery of a compound that prevents the genes of the deadly Listeria monocytogenes bacterium from being able to rapidly adapt to – and survive in – changing environments.

At Cornell's MQIP, Boor and her extension colleagues help New York dairy farmers and milk processors improve and assure the quality, safety and wholesomeness of their raw milk and processed milk products. The MQIP conducts voluntary lab analyses of milk shelf-life and quality for processors; offers workshops and seminars; visits farms and plants; and consults with farmers and processors on improving quality and solving problems.

Boor currently serves as the secretary and scientific adviser of the New York State Cheese Manufacturers' Association. She is the 2011 recipient of the International Dairy Foods Association Research Award in Dairy Foods Processing, and a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Food Protection and Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

The New York State Association for Food Protection is a scientific organization whose primary objective is to create a forum in which its members, which represent a broad spectrum of the milk and food industries, can exchange information and ideas on improving and protecting the food supply. The Emmett R. Gauhn Memorial Award was established in 1955 to commemorate the foresight and leadership of Emmett R. Gauhn, a founder and the first president of the NYSAFP.