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K-State Today

May 17, 2021

Food safety researcher wins national scholarship

Submitted by Randall Phebus

Daniel Vega, doctoral candidate in food science, has been awarded the Peanut Proud Scholarship for his research on controlling foodborne pathogens in bakery products that contain peanut butter as a key ingredient.

The addition of peanut pastes to food products significantly increases thermal inactivation temperatures required during baking to effectively control pathogens such as salmonella and listeria, thereby posing a risk to consumers of ready-to-eat products such as cookies and energy bars. Vega's laboratory research has been supported by AIB International and the U.S. bakery products industry. 

The intent of the Peanut Proud Scholarship is to reward a graduate student studying in the U.S. who recognizes the importance of food safety and has the desire to help build the confidence of consumers by ensuring the best quality food for consumption. Peanut Proud is a nonprofit industry organization dedicated to humanitarian efforts worldwide. Vega will receive a $2,000 scholarship and an all-expense-paid trip to the International Association for Food Protection conference in Phoenix this summer to present his research findings.