Jean WeeseAfter five years of active involvement in the Auburn University Food Systems Institute (AUFSI) as a core faculty member, Auburn food science professor Jean Weese is now officially recognized as AUFSI associate director. Weese has been crucial in establishing AUFSI’s credibility and international reputation, says AUFSI director Pat Curtis.

Also serving as a food safety specialist for the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, Weese has spent countless hours coordinating several outreach projects between AUFSI and Extension personnel, including everything from food safety training for seafood processors to heading up the AUFSI Entrepreneur Working Group.

The Food Entrepreneur Working Group is a collaboration between the AU colleges of agriculture and business, the Small Business Development Center and Alabama regulatory personnel. The group plans and provides speakers for an annual conference for those who want to start a food business.

“In my role as associate director, I look forward to continuing to help support entrepreneurs and grow Alabama’s food system as a whole, possibly attracting other processors to the state,” Weese said. “I want to help bring Alabama to the next level.”

Weese also played a key role in developing food safety training for the Food and Drug Administration’s National Curriculum for Food Safety. AUFSI is one of five organizations creating the training for county, state and federal inspectors of FDA-regulated foods. Weese also has helped connect AUFSI with Alabama state regulatory personnel and represented the institute at events worldwide.

Her activities as associate director include continued leadership of the Entrepreneur Working Group; shared leadership roles in outreach and food safety (mostly in produce and seafood areas); representation of AUFSI at local, state, national and international events; and other administrative duties as needed.

Weese has spent 29 years as a professor in the Auburn University Department of Poultry Science, researching a variety of food safety issues in the food processing and service industries and teaching a gamut of food science courses—everything from food chemistry to plant sanitation.

As an Extension food safety specialist, Weese helps farmers, processors and aspiring food entrepreneurs through courses such as the Better Process Control School for processors of low-acid and acidified canned foods and Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) for farmers. She has even worked with school lunch programs to improve their quality and variety of food.

For more information, contact Karen Hunley at 334.844.9172 or


HELPING TO BUILD the food entrepreneur system to better support Alabama’s food system to support entrepreneurs and possibly attract other processors to the state with the resources we have here to help bring Alabama to the next level