Dr. Philip E. Nelson, a
Nelson was announced as the 2007 Laureate by Ambassador Kenneth M. Quinn, President of the World Food Prize Foundation, which is headquartered in
In making the announcement, Ambassador Quinn stated that Dr. Nelson's food science research has significantly reduced post-harvest waste and spoilage and greatly increased the availability and accessibility of nutritious food worldwide, particularly in emergency situations.
Research helped preserve food better
"Dr. Nelson's pioneering work, which began with tomatoes and later included a variety of seasonal crops, has made it possible to produce ultra-large scale quantities of high quality food," says Quinn. "This food can then be stored for long periods of time and transported to all corners of the world without losing nutritional value or taste."
Nelson's research led to the discovery of methods and equipment to preserve perishable food at ambient temperatures in very large carbon steel tanks (beginning with 100 gallon tanks and increasing in capacity to 500,000 gallons). By coating the tanks with epoxy resin and sterilizing the valves and filters, food products were able to be stored and removed without reintroducing contaminants. As a result, enormous quantities of pathogen-free food could be distributed to plants around the world for final processing and packaging.
Later partnering with the Scholle Corporation, Nelson developed a low-cost aseptic "bag-in-box" system for preserving and shipping foods. By the 1980's, this technology had spread throughout the global food industry. Working with another company, Fran Rica Manufacturing (now part of FMC), he engineered a variation of the bag sealing fitment as a membrane, which ruptures during the fill and then reseals with a sterilized foil cap. This is now the standard technology used for processing and packaging of aseptically processed foods worldwide.
2007 award to be presented Oct. 18
In the developing world, these technologies have made it affordable and convenient to transport and deliver a variety of safe food products without need for refrigeration, averting loss due to spoilage. Citrosuco, a leading orange juice producer based in
Nelson has been involved in the storage and packaging of food since childhood. He spent his early years working on his family's tomato farm and canning factory in
The 2007 World Food Prize will be formally presented to Nelson at a ceremony at the Iowa State Capitol on