J. Ralph Blanchfield Remembered

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IUFoST is deeply indebted to Ralph for his many years of leadership in IUFoST. His uncompromising vision and incisive ability to promote and elevate the discipline of Food Science and Technology will always be remembered.  He is an intrinsic part of the historical fabric of IUFoST, and we mourn his loss in August. In this 'In Memoriam' , IUFoST Past President Professor Geoffrey Campbell-Platt shares his thoughts on Ralph and his lifetime contributions.

In Memoriam - Prof. J Ralph Blanchfield, MBE

            Prof. Ralph Blanchfield has died, August  2022, aged 99.  Originally , Chemist for Bush Boake Allen, major spice and flavouring  company for the U.K. Food industry, Ralph later set up his own consultancy. However, he devoted a large amount of his time voluntarily committed to establishing and developing professionalism for Food Scientists and Technologists.

           He was a pioneer in helping establish in the United Kingdom, the Institute of Food Science and Technology, IFST, formally launched in 1964. The first IUFoST World Congress had been held in London in 1962, and the U.K. ,as a founding member, played a leading role in helping its successful establishment and development. Ralph Blanchfield had a particular interest in Constitutions and correct procedures, and was able to use this in helping establish IUFoST governance and Constitution, giving firm foundations for the future. He also used this skill in converting colleagues’ ideas and thoughts into cohesive written documents. For example, as ‘Hon. Secretary’ to the working group within IFST producing the important and useful ‘Food and Drink -  Good Manufacturing Practice ; a Guide to its Responsible  Management’, now in its 7th edition, several languages, and widely consulted and used. He also helped establish and support the European regional grouping, EFFoST, within IUFoST , in 1983.

        Elected a Fellow of our International Academy, IAFoST, he served as its President from 2006 to 2008, where he was also helped initiate and produce the useful and authoritative IUFoST Scientific Information Bulletins, which have been important in improving awareness and understanding of key practices and new technologies, so helping in the IUFoST mission of ‘Strengthening global Food Science and Technology for humanity’. Ralph was a regular attendee and contributor at our IUFoST World Congresses, and played a useful role in developing and publishing our Budapest Declaration, at the World Congress there in 1995. This was further developed and strengthened by our Cape Town Declaration in 2010, declaring our commitment to all, in improving food safety and food security to help reduce world hunger, sharing knowledge through education and good practices.

In recognition of his major commitment and contribution, Ralph was awarded the IUFoST Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010, and he then continued his contribution through membership of IUFoST Scientific Committee, and helping in production and publication of ‘World of Food Science’, often in conjunction with IFT. He also was an active member of the then co-ordinating committee for Food Science and Technology professional societies in the U.K., UKFFoST, which, through a programme of John Coppock awards, selected and funded young scientists to attend IUFoST World Congresses around the world.

Other recognition he achieved included an MBE from the British Government, and his Adjunct Professorship from Michigan State University for his contribution to their Distance Education Programme. Despite his concerns for precision and procedures, he continued looking for, and using new digital technologies, and would be seen many years ago, bringing his word processer, and then computer, to meetings, before many younger than himself! With his dedication and thoroughness, the outputs of his machines have already, and will continue to contribute a key part of the foundations of our professionalism, for which we will be forever grateful.

Ralph lost his dear wife of 66 years, Sylvia, in 2010. Our condolences go to their daughter, Pat, and the Family.

Geoffrey Campbell-Platt

Former IUFoST President, 2008 -2012.