Bremner wins top food science and technology award

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 24th July 2008

Allan Bremner has been named the 2008 winner of the Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology (AIFST) Keith Farrer Award of Merit.

The Keith Farrer Award of Merit is the AIFST’s most prestigious award bestowed on its members. It is given for outstanding achievements in contributions to food science and technology in the wide areas of research, industry and education, and recognises offerings that further the aims and objectives of the Institute.

Allan Bremner’s contribution to the Australian and international food industry, food science community and the AIFST spans several decades and is particularly focussed on seafood – quality, freshness, shelf life and aquaculture harvesting.

Perhaps his greatest contribution is the development of what is now known as the Quality Index Method (QIM) that evaluates current storage life and estimates remaining shelf-life. QIM has been adopted in industry and at auctions, is recognised by the EU and is now the standard reference method in research and commerce throughout Europe.

“Allan Bremner has made significant contributions to a number of high ranking international journals, run practical courses around the world and supported the AIFST for over 30 years,” advised Peter Lancaster, AIFST President. “He’s a worthy winner who has assisted in bridging the social and geographical network in the food industry between Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South East Asia, Scandinavia, the EU and the US.”

Bremner’s PhD work, under the auspices of the Hobart Medical School, stimulated the only book on extracellular matrix of seafoods. Other projects included papers on minced fish products, electrophoretic identification of species, modified atmosphere packaging and fisheries of the North West shelf. Between 1975 and 1990 the seeds of QIM were sown, as Bremner worked to determine a different approach to mixed fisheries in Australia.

Moving to QDPI as Seafood group leader, Bremner focussed on the prawn processing and packaging low stress harvest of aquaculture fish, particularly salmonids, barramundi and the embryonic tuna cage culture industry. Australia now leads the world in the development of automated harvest and stunning of salmonids with machines supplied worldwide.

In 1996 the Danish Technical Research Council appointed Bremner Research Professor. Here work continued on QIM in Europe, with a computer program developed for structuring knowledge about seafood quality, and for linking to other databases to provide a broader quality and safety dimension.

Since returning to Australia, Bremner has continued to promote QIM techniques, resulting in a manual for several Australian species produced through work done at QDPI&F and AMC, supported by Sydney Fish Market and FRDC. This work is being expanded into the new CRC for Seafood and an Australian Standard is planned.

Passing on his knowledge and experience though much consulting work, Bremner has covered traceability guides and workshops (Seafood Services Australia), has been involved in the Tuna Quality Project (Aquafin CRC), rock lobster post-harvest, the need for species identification (FRDC and the Australian Fish Names Committee), reviewing research planning for AZTI-Tecnalia in Bilbao, is an active member of the external advisory board for SEAFOODplus (the largest ever EC project on seafood) and continues to lecture at meetings and to students.

The Keith Farrer Award of Merit was announced at the AIFST’s 41st Annual Conference ‘Our Food Our Future’ which is currently being held (21 July- 24 July 08) at the Sydney Exhibition and Convention Centre, Darling Harbour.

For further information about the AIFST and the AIFST Convention, visit www.aifst.com.au.