Art Teixeira (B.S. Mechanical Engineering 1966, M.S. Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering 1968, Ph.D. Food and Agricultural Engineering 1971) has been named a Fellow of the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT). He'll receive the honor at the organization's annual meeting this July in Chicago. Dr. Teixeira, now a professor with the University of Florida's (UF) Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department, was one of 18 academic, government, and industry experts elected as 2010 IFT Fellows. He's best known for developing improved methods for canning food, and has also done a great deal of international work, in part because many countries are struggling to modernize their canning methods.
"As I've seen these countries progress and increase exportation of safe, canned food, it warms my heart," Professor Teixeira said.
The IFT exists to advance the science of food. The organization's long-range vision is to ensure a safe and abundant food supply contributing to healthier people everywhere. For more than 70 years, the IFT has been unlocking the potential of the food science community by creating a dynamic global forum where members from more than 100 countries can share, learn, and grow.
One of Dr. Teixeira’s recent projects involves Haitian mango growers. Teixeira is designing a pack frame that will fit on a donkey and hold shipping boxes. This simple innovation will eliminate one big step from the harvesting process: putting freshly harvested mangoes in bags, then unpacking them and repacking them in shipping boxes for export. He'll also design a small processing plant so that growers can process bruised mangoes for pulp and juice.
Professor Teixeira said he was surprised to receive such a high honor from the IFT, because he considers himself primarily an engineer. Nonetheless, he's a longtime adjunct faculty member in UF's Food Science and Human Nutrition Department and has been active in IFT for more than 40 years. He was nominated for the award by a colleague in Chile.
Asked about his success, Teixeira is quick to mention his wife, Marjorie St John, saying her support made his accomplishments possible. He also credits his graduate students for "making me look good" and says his 11 years of work in private industry before arriving at UF gave him plenty of engineering street-smarts. (June 2010)