Food science professor emeritus named to ACSH Board of Scientific Advisors

University of Georgia Professor Emeritus Robert Shewfelt has been named to the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) Board of Scientific Advisors.

The board peer-reviews the council’s work; writes articles for Priorities, the council’s magazine; and guides the council’s positions on science policy. Founded in 1978, ACSH is a science and health education and consumer advocacy organization that promotes evidence-based science and health policy.

Shewfelt, who retired in 2013, joined the faculty of the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Department of Food Science and Technology in 1982 on UGA’s Griffin campus. In his early years at the college, he focused his time on his research, which involved tracing quality changes in fruits and vegetables from the farm to the consumer.

In 1996, he transferred to UGA’s Athens campus to teach and serve as the undergraduate coordinator and recruiter for the food science major. He continued to conduct research, but switched his primary focus to teaching future food scientists.

He developed what became a popular first-year Odyssey seminar, “Chocolate Science,” to interest UGA students in the field of food science. Despite the attention the seminar garnered, “Food Processing” was Shewfelt’s favorite course to teach.

“Everything we do in food science — keeping foods safe, preventing spoilage, maintaining nutritional and sensory quality, and developing new products — comes back to an understanding of food processes,” he said.

The class lab was run like a virtual food company. Students had to select, develop and manufacture four distinctly different food products. Shewfelt said the experience forced his students to get away from “a multiple-choice test mentality” and to think about applying concepts from the class to real-world situations.

“My first department head, Dr. Tommy Nakayama, told me that my teaching would benefit from my early focus on research because I would be teaching from experience rather than from a book,” he said.

The second edition of Shewfelt’s 2007 textbook, “Introducing Food Science,” was published in 2015. In 2012, he released his second book, “Becoming a Food Scientist: To Graduate School and Beyond.” His most recent book, “In Defense of Processed Food: It’s Not Nearly as Bad as You Think,” was released last year. He also posts weekly to his blog at

By Sharon Dowdy Cruse

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The Department of Food Science and Technology's Food Process and Research Laboratory provides facilities and expertise for creating food products and testing new processing technologies.

Robert Shewfelt