Robert Gravani

Robert Gravani

Director of the National Good Agricultural Practices Program

B29 Morrison Hall
(607) 255-3262

I am actively engaged in food safety extension/outreach activities with all sectors of the food system including production agriculture, food processing, food retailing, food service, regulatory training, consumer information, as well as food protection and defense (food biosecurity). In addition, I teach or co-teach three Food Science courses, am a Dining Discussion Faculty Fellow and maintain a small research program.

Research Focus

Current research focuses on Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and assisting growers and packing house operators reduce microbial hazards and risks in the production and packing of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Another research project, in collaboration with colleagues in the Department of Communication and the Division of Nutritional Sciences, examined the knowledge, perception of food safety risk and factors associated with home food preparation practices among the Mexican-American population. A paper detailing the results of this project has been published by the peer reviewed journal, Food control.

A project studying how severely food allergic consumers manage their food allergies has been completed and the results have been distributed to extension constituents. Data from this study is being compiled and analyzed with data from another survey site in the U.S. and is being prepared for publication.

Outreach and Extension Focus

The focus of our Extension/Outreach program is to provide the principles of food safety assurance to all sectors of the food system and assist constituents in agricultural production, food processing, food retailing, food service, government agencies and consumers with practical and useful information to assure the safety of foods.

In recent years, the concepts of food protection and defense (food biosecurity) have been incorporated into our extension/outreach programs. In addition, the best practices for communicating the risks involved in food product recalls, as well as catastrophic food events, have been shared with a variety of food industry and regulatory agency officials.

Teaching Focus

The focus of my teaching program is to stimulate student interest in, and enthusiasm for food science and food safety through the use of innovative technologies (electronic student polling, video clips, etc.) and instructional methods. I currently teach a course in Food Safety Assurance, co-teach Food Choices and Issues, a popular course where the relationship between food, diet and health, food technology, and contemporary food issues are addressed and also teach a course on Leadership and Career Skills in Food Science. This leadership course is unique and is the only one taught within a Food Science curriculum in the country. It is designed for second semester Food Science majors and provides students with opportunities to assess their personality types, the strengths that they possess, as well as their leadership behaviors and reinforce how these indicators can be used in their daily activities. I also guest lecture in several other courses in Food Science, Nutritional Sciences and Crop and Soil Sciences.

Awards and Honors

  • The Calvert Willey Distinguished Service Award (2014) Institute of Food Technologists
  • The Emmett R. Gauhn Award (2014) NY State Association for Food Protection

Presentations and Activities

  • Educating and Training the Mature Work Force;. November 2011. Washington State University and Oregon State University. Porland, OR.
  • The Status of Produce Safety in the US. November 2011. Washington State University and Oregon State University. Portland, OR.
  • Is it Safe to Eat?. November 2011. Department of Food Science. Ithaca, NY.
  • Food Product Recalls and Risk Communication. October 2011. Institute of Food Technologists and SOMEICCA. Cancun, Mexico.
  • The Impact of Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) on Produce Safety. October 2011. Institute of Food Technologists and SOMEICCA. Cancun, Mexico.
  • Food Safety Implications for Food Security. October 2011. Tuskegee University. Tuskegee, Alabama.
  • The Food System, Health and Food Safety. October 2011. Department of Crop and Soil Sciences. Ithaca, NY.
  • The Role of Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) in Produce Safety. September 2011. University at Albany Center for Public Health Preparedness. Albany, NY.
  • Applying HACCP Principles in Retail Food Store Operations. September 2011. Cornell Food Science Extension and Wegmans Food Markets. Dowingtown, PA.
  • Food Allergies and Intolerances and their Control. September 2011. NY State Association for Food Protection. Syracuse, NY.