U.S – The University of Minnesota in conjunction with QualiTru Sampling Systems has honored Darrell Bigalke, the founder of QualiTru Sampling Systems, with the Darrell Bigalke Food Safety & Food Quality Award for his four-decade-long dedication to ensuring food safety through ground-breaking innovations for the dairy and liquid food industries.

“Darrell’s passion for food safety and quality, captured in his mantra, ‘Your test result is only as accurate as your sample,’ has guided the philosophy of our company for the past four decades. As QualiTru celebrates its milestone 40th anniversary as a company, we are proud to honor Darrell’s extraordinary impact on the dairy and liquid food industries with this award in conjunction with the University of Minnesota.

“We look forward to the contributions of future award recipients, as they continue to progress in their academic explorations while continuing to advance the body of knowledge related to innovations in food quality and safety,” said Ian Davis, QualiTru’s CEO.

Bigalke, an alumnus of the University of Minnesota (class of 1974), holds a master’s degree in Food Science with an emphasis in Dairy Microbiology.

His master’s thesis, entitled “Relationship Between Conditions of Production and Handling of Raw Milk on the Farm and Bacteriological Quality”, illustrates how well his study of Dairy Science and food safety issues have aligned with his career.

Bigalke spent ten years as a dairy microbiologist at Ecolab before being motivated to found QualiTru Sampling Systems (originally named QMI) in 1983.

Shortly after, there were large-scale outbreaks of Salmonella and Listeria linked to dairy products that affected thousands of people and the death of a few others.

Bigalke focused his new business on the single goal of promoting inline aseptic sampling for the dairy industry, extending the capability for testing raw and processed dairy products far beyond what had been the industry’s regulatory requirements up to that point. Bigalke did this by drawing on his extensive knowledge of the dynamics of microbial contamination.

Bigalke’s innovations enhance milk monitoring efficiency

With the launch of his inline aseptic representative sampling system, Bigalke played a significant role in helping shape the establishment and implementation of new, more rigorous industry Quality standards.

Currently, QualiTru’s products are used to verify product quality, execute inline aseptic sampling for testing and quality checks in bulk tanks and silos, and microbiological testing.

“This award extends Darrell Bigalke’s legacy in pioneering sampling tools that have helped dairy producers better manage their herds and allowed for enhanced efficiency for monitoring milk quality and composition. 

“As a result, dairy farmers have experienced not only enhanced animal health, well-being, and performance, but greater profitability and sustainability in their milking operations,” said Sandra Godden, DVM, DVSc, Professor and Interim Associate Dean of Graduate Programs at the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Minnesota

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Pasteurized Milk Law (Section 6) specifically mentions the use of Bigalke’s patented system as acceptable for the necessary collection of representative samples from farm bulk milk tanks or silos prior to the milk being transported for processing.

In more than 30 nations around the world, QualiTru Sampling Systems are now used to assist the dairy and liquid food sectors in producing safe, high-quality products.

“Through his pioneering work, Darrell has personally helped millions of people avoid serious food poisoning risks by equipping hundreds of commercial dairies and dairy processors with the ability to perform inline aseptic sampling. 

“The data provided by these systems enables organizations to detect contamination issues so they can effectively stop potentially affected products from entering the food distribution system,” said Davis.

With the award, sponsored by QualiTru, also came the debut of the “Annual Dairy Science Scholarship”, which aims to support the next generation of Veterinary Medicine or Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences students at the University of Minnesota in their pursuit of important topics in dairy science and food quality and safety.

“The College of Veterinary Medicine is very grateful to QualiTru Sampling Systems for sponsoring this award, which will contribute greatly to the training of a veterinary student with a strong interest in dairy population medicine,” said Godden, referencing the first recipient who will be chosen for the scholarship in 2023.

For all the latest food safety news from Africa and the World, subscribe to our NEWSLETTER, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel.