Oklahoma State University’s Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Center will hold its annual Research Symposium to highlight food and agricultural products research and kick off its 20-year anniversary celebration.

Sponsored by the Institute of Food Technologists-Oklahoma section and Oklahoma Association for Food Protection, the symposium will take place Feb. 21 in room 201 of FAPC from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will feature oral and poster presentations, a keynote presentation, and 20-year celebration and reception.

“The event will provide an opportunity for students from OSU, Langston and the University of Central Oklahoma to make presentations of their work and for researchers to network with others in the food and agricultural field and possibly foster future collaborations among colleagues,” said Peter Muriana, FAPC food microbiologist and chair of the symposium.

The keynote speaker, Randall Phebus, food science professor at Kansas State University, will discuss validation and prevention of multi-syllable germs in meat, produce, baking and pet food industries.

This year, FAPC is fortunate to have Phebus, who specializes in food microbiology, food safety, food biosecurity and defense, and public health, give the keynote presentation, Muriana said.

“Dr. Phebus is a great colleague, an excellent food microbiologist involved in both teaching and research, and along with myself and a dozen other colleagues, is a member of the Consortium of Process Validation Experts,” Muriana said. “One of his student dissertations identified a potential health concern with mechanically tenderized beef, which initiated my own involvement in this area. I hope our student body takes advantage of Dr. Phebus’ visitation, especially on the heels of our new undergraduate food safety option curriculum in the department of animal science.”

Phebus holds graduate faculty status in Food Science, Animal Sciences and Pathobiology. He works closely with food processors, regulators and technology providers across the country to improve food quality and safety through laboratory-based and processing-based research and troubleshooting activities.

“Dr. Phebus is no stranger to centers such as ours, as he is a member of the K-State Food Science Institute and the National Agricultural Biosecurity Center,” Muriana said. “He also was recently appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture to the National Committee on Meat and Poultry Inspection.”

Following the keynote presentation, attendees are invited to a free lunch and a question-and-answer session with Phebus.

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