Elizabeth M. Grasso-Kelley

  • Assistant Professor, Department of Food Science and Nutrition
  • Research Scientist at IFSH

Courses taught


FdSN 505: Food Microbiology Lecture

FdSN 506: Food Microbiology Laboratory

FdSN 524: Fundamentals of Food Science


FdSN301: Exploring Food Science & Technology


2010 - Ph.D. Food Science & Technology, The Ohio State University
2007 - M.S. Food Science & Nutrition, The Ohio State University
2005 - B.S. Food Science, The Pennsylvania State University –Minor: Economics

Research Interests

To understand and enhance the effects of current processing technologies on the mitigation of pathogens in a variety of low moisture food products and processing environments.

  • Investigate the occurrence of food safety issues during harvest, transport, and storage of low moisture raw agricultural commodities.
  • Understand/improve sanitary design issues related to low moisture food transport and processing equipment. Including cross-contamination and dry sanitation methods.
  • Fate of pathogens in low moisture commodities/foods during storage and processing in primary (farm), secondary (minimal), and further (RTE) processing.
  • Investigation of dry clean sanitation techniques to establish clean breaks.

Professional Affiliations & Memberships

  • 2009 – 2011, American Association for Advancement of Science
  • 2010 – present, American Society for Microbiology
  • 2008 – present,  International Association for Food Protection 
  • 2004 – present, Institute for Food Technologists
  • 2013—present, Phi Tau Sigma



  • Featured Article Journal of Food Protection. September 2018.
  • US FDA Public Health Impact Award for research. 2017.
  • US FDA/IFSH Excellence in Laboratory Science Award. 2014.
  • United States Department of Agriculture/Agriculture and Food Research Initiative-National Institute for Food and Agriculture Postdoctoral Fellowship Award. 2012-2014.
  • United States Food and Drug Administration Commissioner’s Fellowship. 2010-2012.
  • Finalist, IFT Food Microbiology Oral Competition. 2010.
  • Career Development Grant, The Ohio State University, Council of Graduate Students. 2010.
  • 1st Place, Ohio State University OARDC Research Poster Competition. 2010.
  • Outstanding Graduate Student Research Award, Ohio State University. 2009.
  • United States Department of Agriculture National Needs Fellowship. 2007-2010.
  • 2nd Place, IFT Graduate Research Paper Competition. 2007.
  • Finalist, Ohio State University Hayes Forum Oral Competition. 2007.
  • 3rd Place, IFT/Phi Tau Sigma Graduate Research Paper Competition. 2006.


  1. Hildebrandt IM, Marks BP, Anderson NM, Grasso-Kelley EM. 2019. Reproducibility of Salmonella thermal resistance measurements via multi-laboratory isothermal inactivation experiments. J. Food Prot. Accepted.
  2. Jin Y, Pickens SR, Hildebrandt IM, Burbick SJ, Grasso-Kelley EM, Keller SE, Anderson NM. 2018 Thermal inactivation of Salmonella Agona in low-water activity foods: Predictive models for the combined effect of temperature, water activity, and food component. J. Food Prot. 81(9):1411-1417.
  3. Zhang Y, Keller SE, Grasso-Kelley EM. 2017. Fate of Salmonella throughout point in production and refrigerated storage of tahini. J. Food Prot. 80(6):940-946.
  4. Anderson NM, Keller SE, Mishra N, Pickens S, Gradl D, Hartter T, Rokey G, Dohl C, Plattner B, Chirtel S, Grasso-Kelley EM. 2017. Salmonella inactivation during extrusion of an oat flour model food. J. Food Sci. 82(3):738-743.
  5. Hildebrandt IM, Hu C, Grasso-Kelley EM, Ye P, Anderson NM, Keller SE. 2017. Dry transfer inoculation of low-moisture spices containing antimicrobial compounds. J. Food Prot. 80(2):338-344.
  6. Grasso EM, Grove SF, Halik LA, Arritt F, Keller SE. 2015. Cleaning and sanitation of Salmonella-contaminated peanut butter processing equipment. Food Microbiol. 46:100-106.
  7. Keller, S.E., Van Doren, J., Grasso, E.M., Halik, L.A. 2013. Growth and survival of Salmonella in ground black pepper (Piper nigrum). Food Microbiology. 34:182-188.
  8. Keller, S., Grasso, E., Halik, L., Fleischman, G., Chirtel, S., Grove, S. 2012. Effect of growth on the thermal resistance and survival of Salmonella Tennessee and Oranienburg in peanut butter, measured by a new thin-layer thermal death time device. Journal of Food Protection. 75(6):1125-1130.
  9. Ilic, S., Rajić, A., Britton, C.J., Grasso, E., Wilkins, W., Totton, S., Wilhelm, B., Waddell, L., LeJeune, J.T. 2012. A scoping study characterizing prevalence, risk factor and intervention research, published between 1990 and 2010, for microbial hazard in leafy green vegetables. Food Control. 23(1):7-19.
  10. Grasso,E.M., Uribe-Rendon, R.M., Lee, K. 2011. Inactivation of Escherichia coli inoculated onto fresh-cut chopped cabbage using electron-beam processing. Journal of Food Protection. 74(1):115-118.
  11. Grasso, E.M., Somerville, J.A., Balasubramaniam, V.M., Lee, K. 2010. Minimal effects of high-pressure treatment on Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium inoculated into peanut butter and peanut butter products. Journal of Food Science. 75(8):E522-526.
  12. Grasso, E.M., Yousef, A.E., De Lamo Catelli, S., Rodriguez-Saona, L.E. 2009. Rapid detection and differentiation Alicyclobacillus species in fruit juice using hydrophobic grid membranes and attenuated total reflectance infrared microspectroscopy. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 57:10670-10674.
  13. Grasso, E.M., Yousef, A.E., Rodriguez-Romo, L.A., Rodriguez-Saona, L.E. 2009. Rapid differentiation of Bacillus strains using hydrophobic grid membranes and attenuated total reflectance infrared microspectroscopy. Journal of Food Protection. 72(9):1909-1915.


  1. Grasso-Kelley, E.M., Kataoka, A., Lucore, L. 2017. Chapter 3: Potential Sources and Risk Factors, In Control of Salmonella and Other Bacterial Pathogens in Low Moisture Foods. Ed R. Podolak, G. Black. Wiley Blackwell & Sons Ltd., West Sussex, UK.
  2. Lucore, L., Kataoka, A., Anderson, D., Grasso-Kelley, E.M. 2017. Chapter 5: Best Industry Practices to Control Salmonella in Low Moisture Foods, In Control of Salmonella and Other Bacterial Pathogens in Low Moisture Foods. Ed R. Podolak, G. Black. Wiley Blackwell & Sons Ltd., West Sussex, UK.
  3. Anderson, D., Anderson, N., Barach, J., Egan, T., Fisher, C., Grasso-Kelley, E., Harrington, J., Kottapalli, B., Lucore, L., Marks, B., Perry, S., Rokey, G., Schlegel, S., Suhalim, R., Whitman, D. 2016. Spotlight on Baking: Validating the Reduction of Salmonella and Other Pathogens in Heat Processed Low-Moisture Foods. AIOE/OpS Leadership Network.
  4. Grasso-Kelley, E.M. 2016. Foodborne Pathogens in Ready-to-Eat Peanut Butter-Containing Products, In Food Hygiene and Toxicology in Ready-to-Eat Foods. Ed P. Kotzekidou. Academic Press, Elsevier Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts.
  5. Grasso, E.M., Stam, C.N., Anderson, N.M., Krishnamurthy, K. 2014. Heat and Steam Treatments, In The Microbiological Safety of Low Water-Activity Foods and Spices. Ed M. Doyle, J. Kornacki, J. Gurtler. Springer, New York.


  • REU Site: An Interdisciplinary Research Experience for Undergraduates in Food Safety, Food Engineering, and Nutrition. National Science Foundation. 2018-2021.
  • Evaluation of the Survival of Salmonella During Processing of Dessert Bars. US Army Natick Soldier Research, Development, and Engineering Center. 2018-2019.
  • Inactivation of Listeria and Salmonella on Sunflower Seeds by Hot-Air Roasting. US FDA Special Project, 2016-2017.
  • Evaluation of Dry Cleaning Efficacy for the Removal of Microbial Hazards from Food Contact Surfaces. US FDA Special Project. 2016-2017.
  • Enhancing Low-Moisture Food Safety by Improving Development and Implementation of Pasteurization Technologies. USDA NIFA CAP. 2015-2020.
  • Microbial Inactivation Matrix to Determine Critical Parameters for Salmonella Reduction in Model Low Moisture Food Systems – Phase II Model Validation with Oven Trials. US FDA Special Project Funding. 2015-2016.

Community Service

  • Presenter for Science Night at Rowe Elementary/Middle Schools to bring STEM real life experiences to students and their families, Chicago, Illinois (2019)
  • Mentor pen pal for Letters to a Pre Scientist, write engaging letters to middle school science students throughout the school year (2016-2018)
  • Serve as the Health Expert for the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH)/MATTER/HOPE Street Food Insecurity in Chicago Event, Chicago, Illinois (2015)
  • Science Fair Judge, Ted Lenart Regional Gifted Center, Chicago Public Schools, Chicago, Illinois (2014)
  • Mentor pen pal for In 2 Books, write engaging letters to elementary – middle school students on life, hobbies, careers, as well as the most recently read book (both mentor and student read the same book quarterly, as chosen by student from a specific category) (2009-2014)
  • Mentor, Science Olympiad, Upper Arlington School District, Columbus, Ohio (2006-2008)

Editorial Boards

Journal of Food Protection (2016-2021)

Professional Activities

  • Membership and Qualifications Committee, Phi Tau Sigma (2019-present).
  • Reviewer of Technical Research Paper Abstracts and Session Proposals for Institute of Food Technologists (2014-present).
  • Judge Developing Scientist and Undergraduate Awards Committee for International Association for Food Protection (2015).
  • Reviewer of numerous manuscripts for Journal of Food Protection, Journal of Food Science, Peanut Science, International Journal of Food Science, Nutrition and Dietetics, Food Control, Food Microbiology, Current Microbiology, Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems.
  • American Society for Microbiology, member, 2010 - present
  • Gamma Sigma Delta - Honor Society of Agriculture, member, 2008 - present
  • International Association for Food Protection (IAFP), member, 2010 - present
    • Past Chair for the IAFP Low Water Activity Food Safety Professional Development Group, 2014 - 2016
    • Past Vice Chair for the IAFP Low Water Activity Food Safety Professional Development Group, 2013 - 2014
  • Institute for Food Technologists, member, 2004 - present
  • Phi Tau Sigma, The Honor Soceity for Food Science and Technology, lifetime member, 2016 - present
    • Board of Directors, 2017 - 2020


Food Microbiology, Food Safety, Low-Moisture Foods

Additional Info

Media Mentions:

Grasso-Kelley, E.M. 2018. Interview with ABC 7 Chicago about egg recall. Available: https://abc7chicago.com/health/egg-recall-2018-200m-eggs-recalled-over-salmonella-fears-in-9-states-/3345711/. April 18, 2018.

Grasso-Kelley, E.M. 2017. Series of Four Low Moisture Food Safety Blogs. Food Suppliers Processing Association, Process Expo: Expert in Residence. Available: https://www.myprocessexpo.com/blog/expert-in-residence. February-May, 2017.