Texas Tech University

Industry Magazine Honors Texas Tech Food Sciences Researcher

Norman Martin

November 18, 2016


The National Provisioner recognized Mindy Brashears as one of its '25 Future Icons.'

Mindy Brashears
Mindy Brashears

The National Provisioner, a national magazine that focuses on the meat processing profession, has selected a professor in Texas Tech's College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources as one of its “25 Future Icons.”

Mindy Brashears, a professor of food microbiology and food safety in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences who also serves as director of Texas Tech's International Center for Food Industry Excellence (ICFIE), is featured in the publication's November issue.

“I am genuinely honored that they selected me as a future icon,” Brashears said. “Being selected as one among this outstanding group of individuals is truly a big responsibility. I am thankful to Texas Tech and my colleagues for providing me the support needed to achieve the things that I have in my career. No person stands alone in any accomplishment, and I am truly grateful to work at such a supportive university surrounded by outstanding colleagues and students.”

In the past two decades Brashears, one of the nation's top food safety experts, has been the recipient of millions of dollars in federal, commodity and research grants. She has made breakthrough discoveries with her research and helped develop innovative new technologies in food safety.

Last month, the ICFIE was selected as a National Surveillance Lab for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System, Retail Meat Surveillance Program through a competitive federal grant process.

Andy Hanacek, editor-in-chief of The National Provisioner, said the magazine serves meat processing professionals who want to stay updated on the latest processing and packaging information, including updates on food safety, new products and industry trends.

For more than a century, Hanacek noted The National Provisioner has offered meat and poultry processing professionals with innovations in protein processing, food safety, new products, meat plant operations, company profiles and industry trends via its website, eNewsletter and monthly magazine.

One of the highlights of Brashears' research was development of a treatment shown to reduce food-borne pathogens such as Salmonella and E. coli in processed beef and poultry. The treatment consists of a combination of lactic acid bacteria cultures, a “good” bacteria already found in foods like yogurt, cheeses and sausages. Researchers found when the mixture was added to hamburger meat, Salmonella was non-detectable and the meat was unharmed after five days.

Brashears' endeavors also involved industry collaboration supported by the State of Texas Emerging Technology Fund to develop MicroZAP, a company that supports a microwave pasteurization technology. MicroZAP was spun off from patented technology developed through the cutting-edge food sterilization research at the Texas Tech research center.

After earning a bachelor's degree in food technology from Texas Tech, Brashears received her master's and doctorate degrees in food science from Oklahoma State University. She was an assistant professor at the University of Nebraska's Department of Food Science and Technology before returning to her first alma mater.

Recent awards for Brashears include the Maurice Weber Laboratorian Award from the International Association for Food Protection (2014) and the ARCS Foundation-Lubbock chapter ‘Scientist of the Year' Award (2011).

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