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Swartzel receives highest IFT honor

Dr. Kenneth Swartzel, William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor of food, bioprocessing and nutrition sciences, has received the highest award given by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), a professional society for food scientists.

Swartzel was honored with the 2013 Nicholas Appert Award on July 13 during the IFT annual meeting in Chicago. The Appert Award is the IFT’s highest honor and is given annually to an IFT member for preeminence in and contributions to the field of food science and technology. The award includes a $5,000 honorarium and a plaque.

Swartzel’s research, focused on chemical and biological kinetics in continuous flow food processing systems, resulted in 22 U.S. and 30 foreign patents. In 1987, he was instrumental in founding what is now the Center for Advanced Processing and Packaging Studies, a National Science Foundation industry/university cooperative research center, serving as managing director.

During the 2002-2003 academic year, Swartzel was on special assignment with the University of North Carolina System Office of the President directing activities of the North Carolina Technology Development Initiative Program. He also served as head of what is now the Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences in the 1990s.

Swartzel, who has entered phased retirement, has been recognized with nine international research awards and named Fellow of both the Institute of Food Technologists and ASAE-The Society for Engineering in Agricultural, Food and Biological Systems.

In 2006 he received the Alexander Quarles Holladay Medal for Excellence, N.C. State’s highest award for faculty career achievement and service to the university. Swartzel was named N.C. State University’s Innovator of the Year in 2011, while in 2012, he was honored with the state’s Order of the Long Leaf Pine award for exemplary service to the state.

Swartzel is known around the world for blending basic engineering and kinetics to yield new products and processes that enhance quality of life. His work, which has been recognized with three Institute of Food Technologist Industrial Achievement Awards, led to the creation of seven early stage companies in North Carolina.