Food Safety and Quality

The Food Safety and Quality team consists of faculty with expertise in microbial, chemical and sensory analysis of foods and in novel food safety intervention strategies. The focus of the team’s research, teaching, extension and outreach efforts is to innovate and promote effective farm-to-fork measures for ensuring the microbial and chemical safety, nutritional content, desirable sensory attributes and overall quality of foods. Our overall goal is to innovate and promote effective farm-to-fork measures for ensuring the microbial and chemical safety, nutritional content and desirable sensory attributes of foods.


  • To achieve national and international recognition for our group’s expertise, activities and resources.
  • To effectively engage federal and industry stakeholders in a sustainable cycle of funding, discovery and change (knowledge, action, condition).
  • To recruit and train the next generation of academic and industry leaders in food safety and food quality.

Research Projects

  • Developing and evaluating vaccines, probiotics, and treatments to enhance food safety and mitigate antibiotic resistance (Mellata)
  • Developing effective antimicrobial intervention strategies based on natural and/or value-added antimicrobials (Brehm-Stecher, Mendonça)
  • Determining the prevalence and control points for mitigation of food safety concerns from farm to consumer (Shaw)
  • Evaluating the impact of intervention strategies on the safety and quality of foods and beverages (Wilson, Boylston)
  • Determining the effects of thermal processing conditions on safety and quality of nuts, oilseeds, and legumes (Shi)

Unique or Key Facilities Related to the SAE

  • High Pressure Processing (HPP) equipment
  • BSL-2 meat processing line
  • Flow cytometry and image analysis equipment
  • Three Bioscreen C Microbiology Reader instruments, one capable of anaerobic work
  • Greenhouses, growth chambers and research farms

Faculty Interests

Terri Boylston, PhD: Food and flavor chemistry, applications of probiotics to dairy foods

Byron Brehm-Stecher, PhD: Rapid detection of pathogens, development of antimicrobial systems

Stephanie Clark, PhD: Application of food microbiology, chemistry, product development and sensory evaluation approaches to enhance dairy product quality, functionality, shelf life, and consumption

Shannon M. Coleman, PhD: Farmers’ market, food security, value added products (food processing and regulations)

Melha Mellata, PhD: Antibiotic resistance, microbiome; zoonotic potential of bacteria; vaccines, and probiotics

Aubrey Mendonca, PhD: Discovery and application of natural and value-added antimicrobials, high pressure processing; influence of environmental stress and microbial physiological state on resistance of human enteric pathogens to food processes

Ken Prusa, PhD:  Sensory evaluation of food quality with emphasis on pork quality from the farm to the consumer

Joseph Sebranek, PhD: Quality and safety implications of novel ingredients and new technology developed for processed meat products, quality and safety considerations for natural and organic meat products

Angela M. Shaw, PhD: Development of intervention strategies to mitigate food safety risk through research, policy change, and extension programming from farm to retail. Visit Food Safety website.

Xiaolei Shi, PhD: Thermal processing of food materials for improvement of sensory properties and storability

Joey Talbert, PhD: Bio-based detection systems; biotechnology; nanotechnology; synthetic biology; enzymes; bioconjugation

Keith Vorst, PhD: Polymer and bioplastic food packaging, biological and chemical safety of food contact surfaces. Visit Polymer and Food Protection website.

Need More Information?

Byron Brehm-Stecher

3344 Food Sciences Building
536 Farm House Lane
Ames, IA 50011-1054