The American Meat Science Association (AMSA) has announced that Dr. Shai Barbut is the 2021 AMSA Distinguished Research Award recipient. The award was established in 1965 to recognize members with outstanding research contributions to the meat industry and is sponsored by Conagra Brands Inc. Dr. Barbut is being honored during the 74th AMSA Reciprocal Meat Conference (RMC) awards presentation on August 17, 2021, in Reno, Nevada hosted by the University of Nevada – Reno.
Dr. Shai Barbut serves as a Professor in Food Science at the University of Guelph in Guelph, Ontario, Canada. Dr. Barbut's research can be characterized as both innovative and novel, given his approach to blending practical meat science with muscle's basic chemical and physical properties. He is adept at interfacing basic and applied research to solve problems and create new solutions to some of the most fundamental questions associated with meat as a food.
Dr. Barbut expresses that, “The meat industry has advanced more in the past 3 decades than in the past 3,000 years. This includes the utilization of knowledge in genetics, muscle biology, food physics, robotics, nutrition, animal-welfare, medicine, etc. It is very rewarding and a privilege to be part of this process, and be able to contribute to innovation and teaching our new students/leaders.”
He has led efforts resulting in a new poultry muscle grading scheme based on the meat's functional properties, which contrasts with the current system based on conformation and physical defects of the carcass. He also made valuable contributions to improving the control of microbiological issues of meat products using bioluminescent E. coli 0157:H7 to model food safety.
Barbut has over 25 years of experience teaching Meat and Sausage Short Courses in Canada, serving as a guest speaker at various short courses in the United States (U.S)., and has been judged at the American Association of Meat Processors (AAMP) National Cured Meat Championship. He has played an important role in supervising the Food Science Co-op Program at Guelph, averaging 20 students per year placed in industry internships. He has mentored 30 master's students, 15 doctoral students, and several hundred undergraduates.