How We Grow

2022 Spring How We Grow

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Growers, said Goshgarian's contributions to the industry have been enormous. "Between growing almonds at Goshgarian Enterprises, leading a critical ABC committee, and serving on an industry Board of Directors, it is hard to imagine someone making a bigger impact on our industry," he said. "There is not a grower in the state whose prices have not benefitted from the work (Goshgarian) has guided and facilitated in the area of nutritional research," added Gemperle. Past Almond Achievement Award recipients include Jim Paiva, Rob Kiss, John Thoming, Tony Campos, Dave Phippen, Jim Jasper, Dave Baker, Joe McIlvaine, Martin Pohl and Ned Ryan. Nominations are accepted between August and October each year. A commitment to food safety Stevenson was recognized for his key role in establishing hundreds of processes that make almonds safer to eat. As the chairman of the Almond Board's Technical Expert Review Panel (TERP) for the past 17 years, he has been at the forefront of the industry's commitment to food safety. TERP is a third-party panel made up of experts in thermal processing, process validation, food safety and microbiology. "He was instrumental in setting research priorities to identify risks associated with almonds and appropriate ways to control them," said Tim Birmingham, director of industry services for the Almond Board. "He has led the TERP panel in ongoing program refinement and validation of more than 300 processes used on almonds." Stevenson is a food scientist and leader in the field of microbial food safety who worked for the National Food Processors Association, based in Dublin, Calif. In 2001, after the first of two Salmonella scares associated with people eating raw almonds, he was asked by the Almond Board to help identify ways via pasteurization and other methods to ensure the safety of almonds. In 2004, after another Salmonella outbreak affected 29 people in 12 states, TERP was formed, with Stevenson as its first and only chairman until his retirement in December. "The group consisted of four to five consultants who would work independently on sound science," said Guangwei Huang, the Almond Board's associate director of food research and technology. He was instrumental in recruiting Stevenson to TERP. Huang said Stevenson was deeply involved in all the critical areas addressed by TERP, including the following: Soliciting research proposals and evaluating project findings Establishing pasteurization criteria Developing validation guidelines for almond conventional thermal processes (oil roasting, blanching, PPO) and new pasteurization processes of raw almonds Assessing validation reports of new pasteurization technologies submitted by process authorities Ensuring the validation guidelines closely followed by the process authorities as they carry out validation trials Communicating with regulators "Thanks to the independent gatekeeping of TERP on the validation of almond pasteurization processes, ABC has built creditability of our pasteurization program and earned confidence of the regulators who allow our industry to administer the pasteurization program," Huang said. Birmingham and Huang both said the almond pasteurization program Stevenson helped create has not only solidified the almond industry's reputation for food safety, it also has become a model for other nut and low-moisture food industries. "This brand new technical achievement award is a perfect recognition to his expertise in food safety, achievements in technical advancement of pasteurization technologies and contribution to ABC mandatory pasteurization program," Huang said. Ken Stevenson, Tim Birmingham, Karen Lapsley, Brian Wahlbrink, Richard Waycott (left to right) Almond Board of California 16

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