The American Meat Science Association (AMSA) has announced that Dr. Wesley Osburn, Associate Professor of Animal Science at Texas A&M University, is the recipient of the 2016 Meat Processing Award.  The award is sponsored by Smithfield Foods Inc.  Dr. Osburn will be honored at a special awards banquet at the AMSA 69th Reciprocal Meat Conference on Tuesday, June 21, 2016 in San Angelo, Texas.   

Dr. Wesley N. Osburn, Associate Professor in the Department of Animal Science at Texas A&M University, has a passion for all things related to meat processing—whether it is in the classroom helping students learn about this fascinating aspect of the meat industry, in the research and development laboratory making new products, or in the field helping manufacturers improve their processes or to solve some problem—making him one of the top educators in this area.

Dr. Osburn is a master teacher who brings to the classroom a tremendous knowledge of processed meats based on both scientific principles and extensive practical applications. He has taught a wide variety of courses at Michigan State University and Texas A&M University, and he provides a great background to his students so that they not only understand fundamental aspects of processed meats, but also understand how to implement these in commercial settings.

Dr. Osburn’s research program focuses on identifying, developing, and evaluating innovative ingredients and processing systems that enhance the functionality, nutritional value, safety, and/or quality of processed meat. Specific projects have included (1) investigating the influence of chlorine dioxide on pathogen survival and recovery on chilled pork and poultry subprimals, (2) using electronic sensors to detect the presence of pathogens, reduce the presence of “off odors and flavors” in pre-rigor sow pork loins, (3) evaluating varying levels and types of hydrocolloid gums in chicken patties and high-added-water restructured ham products, (4) assessing the functionality of preheated, spray dried whey protein isolates in low-fat frankfurters, (5) utilizing cryoprotectants to maintain the quality of frozen meat products, (6) investigating the functionality of dark, firm, and dry beef in processed meats, (7) determining the quality and functional attributes of processed meats manufactured with fruit powders, (8) developing injectable “modified marbling” solution made from various nonmeat ingredients and/or blends of lipids to mimic the organoleptic properties of intramuscular fat in whole muscle and further processed meat products, and (9) surveying the amount of residual nitrite in conventionally and alternatively cured meat products.

Dr. Osburn has been a key leader and presenter in many meat processing workshops around the country. He was instrumental in helping design and implement the original Pork 101 program, and he has been heavily involved in many different workshops related to processed meats throughout the years. One of Dr. Osburn’s greatest academic contributions has been the book chapters he has written. These chapters have been and continue to be used by students and meat processing industry personnel to help them understand the scientific and technical issues related to processed meats. These are great examples of the wonderful ways that Dr. Osburn helps people understand the complexities of this very specialized area of meat science. Dr. Osburn is not only a leader in meat science, but he also served our nation during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn from 2009 to 2011. He also worked with diplomats and representatives from the U.S. and British embassies to enhance civilian-military training and support for the Iraqi Armed Forces and retired in 2012 with the rank of U.S. Army Colonel.

“He is the epitome of a true agriculture scientist as he utilizes his personal and professional passions to direct and guide his research, teaching and outreach interests. At the core of these interests remains the focus of processed meats in which his interest lies and is easily communicated through his teaching, research, and outreach track record throughout his career,” stated Jeff Sindelar, University of Wisconsin.


The American Meat Science Association (AMSA) has announced that Dr. Dwain Johnson, Professor of Meat Science at the University of Florida, is the recipient of the 2016 Distinguished Research Award.  The award was established in 1965 to recognize members with outstanding research contributions to the meat industry and is sponsored by ConAgra Foods, Inc.  Dr. Johnson will be honored at a special awards banquet at the AMSA 69th Reciprocal Meat Conference on Tuesday, June 21, 2016 in San Angelo, Texas.

Dr. Dwain Johnson has more than 35 years of experience in all phases of the meat industry. He obtained his B.S. in animal science at Texas A&M University in 1976 and a M.S. from Oklahoma State University in food science in 1978. While at OSU, Dwain coached the Intercollegiate Meat Judging Team under the guidance of Dr. Lowell Walters. Following the completion of his M.S., he became an instructor in the Animal Science Department at California State University- Chico while concurrently instructing at the USDA meat grading school. Dwain soon returned to Texas A&M University where he earned a Ph.D. in meat science and muscle biology in 1984. That same year he joined the faculty of the Department of Animal Sciences at the University of Florida as an assistant professor. Dwain’s research specifically focuses on antemortem and postmortem factors influencing animal composition and meat palatability and he has produced more than 250 publications with more than 90 being in refereed scientific journals.

In 2002, Dwain and his collaborators conducted a series of research projects aimed at identifying undervalued portions of the beef carcass. In the largest study of its kind, he evaluated more than 5,600 muscles for flavor and tenderness. The crown jewel of his research findings has received national notoriety and is named the “Flat-Iron” steak. Today, the Flat-Iron steak is the nation’s fifth best-selling beef item. Recent figures show Flat-Iron steak sales now top 90 million pounds per year, compared to only half that number in 2006. In fact, the Flat-Iron steak outsells T-bone and porterhouse steaks combined in U.S. food service establishments. As a result of his outstanding contributions to the beef industry, Dwain received the Florida Cattlemen’s Association “Researcher of the Year” award in 2003. In 2004, he and his co-workers received the International Meat Secretariat Prize for Meat Science and Technology in Winnipeg, Canada, for their significant contributions to the field of meat science. This marked the first time U.S. researchers had received this recognition since the inception of the award in 2000. More recently, he was selected as the 2009 Advanced Degree Alumnus of Distinction at Oklahoma State University.

“Students chose to study under Dr. Johnson due to his visionary leadership and once they become students, they receive phenomenal mentorship which instills a passion for the meat industry, helping them achieve what they aspired to do,” stated Chad Carr, University of Florida.


The American Meat Science Association (AMSA) has announced that Dr. Eric Berg, Professor and Associate Department Head Animal Sciences at North Dakota State University is the recipient of the 2016 Distinguished Teaching Award. The award was established to recognize excellence in the teaching of undergraduate and graduate meat science courses and the impact on the lives of those students in a highly positive manner. The award is sponsored by the Kraft Heinz Company. Dr. Berg will be honored at a special awards banquet at the AMSA 69th Reciprocal Meat Conference on Tuesday, June 21, 2016 in San Angelo, Texas.

In this current role, he teaches courses at North Dakota State University, including Introduction to Animal Science, Live Animal and Carcass Evaluation, Physiology and Biochemistry of Muscle as Food or Livestock Muscle Physiology along with Research and Issues in Animal Agriculture. He is also very active in undergraduate and graduate student advising. He currently advises three MS students and has completed eight MS and nine PhD students. Of his nine PhD students, six are employed in academia (Nanjing Agricultural University, China, North Dakota State, Florida, Kentucky; Nebraska, and Missouri State University) and three in industry (Hormel Foods, Inc., Coleman Natural Foods, and Food Animal Consultation and Testing Services). Two of his MS students went on to complete PhD’s and are also employed in academia.

He has been an active AMSA professional member and served as Director of the association from 2006-2008, and, in particular, the RMC Chairman in 2007-2008. He has extensive involvement as a member of numerous AMSA committees. His career to date has been productive yielding 70 journal publications, 132 society presentations and abstracts, 15 manuals, booklets and champers, 51 invited presentations (international/national) and 75 popular press features. As well as securing over $1.4 million in funding over the last 10 years. He has been the recipient of a North Dakota State Extension Program of Excellence Award (2009), an AMSA Achievement Award (2003), and National Pork Producer Council Swine Industry Award for Innovation: Education Category (2001).

“This (Dr. Eric Berg) nationally-recognized meat scientist is humble, consummate team player who wholeheartedly believes that research is just another mode of teaching, the laboratory is a unique, hands-on classroom, and the graduate student merits the accolades of success,” stated Jason Apple, University of Arkansas.


The American Meat Science Association (AMSA) announced that Dr. Scott Eilert, Vice President, Food Safety, Quality and Regulation for Cargill Turkey and Cooked Meats, is the recipient of the 2016 Distinguished Extension-Industry Service Award.  The award was established in 1965 to recognize outstanding achievement in meat science extension and service to the industry and is sponsored by the North American Meat Institute Foundation. Dr. Eilert will be honored at an Awards banquet during the AMSA 69th Reciprocal Meat Conference on Tuesday, June 21, 2016, in San Angelo, Texas. 

Dr. Scott Eilert earned his B.S. in Animal Science from Kansas State University, and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Meat Science from the University of Nebraska in 1992 and 1994 respectively. Under the long tenure of Dr. Mandigo, Scott worked on both basic and applied research into connective tissue chemistry and its application into meat products. During graduate school he began to share his technical knowledge through coaching the meat judging team as well as helping his fellow peers with their research.

In his role at Cargill, Dr. Eilert leads eight different cooked meats and primary processing facilities’ food safety and quality teams. During his industry career, he has had many major technical contributions; to highlight some of the most significant were his contributions in gaining the regulatory approval of the use of Carbon Monoxide in case ready packaging to preserve color, development of fresh meat brines that extend shelf life, and his latest, leading a significant paradigm shift in how the poultry industry and regulatory groups protect public health. Focusing on the concept that “everyone has the right to consume safe food,” Scott championed the concept that zero is not possible or necessary for the control of Salmonella. Using the data and a toxicological approach, he demonstrated that threshold testing was a more appropriate approach to control of Salmonella. These contributions are industry changing and will have lasting impact.

“Scott’s largest contribution to the meat industry has been his constant attention to new talent. Scott continues to seek our new leaders and promote their continued involvement in the meat industry. He has been responsible for many individuals choosing careers in their academia or industry with a focus on meat,” stated Angela Siemens, Cargill.

Source: AMSA