Women's Activism NYC

Tara Mchugh

By: ST | Date Added:

Tara McHugh is a food technologist and director of the Western Regional Research Center in Albany, CA. In 2019, she was named the ARS Distinguished Senior Research Scientist of the Year for outstanding contributions to food science and processing. Her research focuses on creating value-added products from fruits and vegetables deemed unmarketable but are otherwise safe and nutritious to eat. In the early 2000s, McHugh developed the world's first all-fruit bar using a novel processing technology she and her team invented. Each of these 100-percent fruit bars is made of unmarketable fruit that would normally be discarded. In 2001, the editors of Popular Science magazine chose McHugh's work as one of the magazine's 100 “Best of What's New" awards. Her flavorful, nutritious wraps were selected from among thousands of products and technologies reviewed for the 14th annual competition. In addition, McHugh and her team found that incorporating natural essential oils from oregano, thyme, cinnamon, allspice, clove, and lemongrass into apple- and tomato-based films and coatings helped to fight against E. coli, Salmonella, and Listeria. The cutting-edge research efforts of McHugh and her team have led to the patenting, licensing, and commercialization of several new food products, including the bars, wraps, and dehydrated vegetable and fruit snacks. This research not only supports small businesses and U.S. growers, but also reduces waste and increases consumption of healthy foods. Story by Nancy Vanatta, Information Specialist, USDA Agricultural Research Service in Research and Science.

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