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Generous gift supports OSU's food safety program

Oklahoma State University is becoming a leader in food safety thanks in part to a generous gift from Lopez Foods. The Oklahoma City food manufacturer provided a $100,000 gift to support OSU’s food safety program in educating and preparing students for food safety careers and providing companies with food safety needs.

By Mandy Gross, FAPC Communications Services Manager

(Stillwater, Okla. – Feb. 25, 2016) Oklahoma State University is becoming a leader in food safety thanks in part to a generous gift from Lopez Foods.

The Oklahoma City food manufacturer provided a $100,000 gift to support OSU’s food safety program in educating and preparing students for food safety careers and providing companies with food safety needs.

“OSU’s food safety program is a wonderful opportunity for the university, students and food industry,” said John Patrick Lopez, chief operating officer for Lopez Foods. “We did not want to pass up the opportunity to help support the first undergraduate food safety program in the nation and to help fill the need for food safety careers in the industry.”

The food safety program was created because of the demand for individuals who are specialized in food safety in the food-processing sector. An advisory board for Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Center, a part of OSU’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, helped develop the program. The initiative resulted in hiring a food safety specialist and assistant professor in the OSU Department of Animal Science and establishing an undergraduate food safety option.

“We appreciate John Patrick and Lopez Foods for their support and leadership in making the food safety program a reality,” said Roy Escoubas, FAPC director. “We are so pleased about the future of the program and a continued partnership with Lopez Foods and many other companies as we aim to fill the need for highly trained graduates in food safety.”

Lopez Foods originated as a spinoff of Wilson Foods, a major force in the meat packing industry until the 1980s. Originally known as Anderson Meats, a Wilson Foods subsidiary, Lopez Foods started producing fresh, frozen beef patties for McDonald’s in 1968.

In 1992, John C. Lopez, a successful McDonald’s owner/operator in Southern California, purchased controlling interest of the company and rebranded the company to Lopez Foods in 1995 to reflect its diverse heritage.

One of the top meat companies in the United States, Lopez Foods is an industry leader in supplying a variety of protein products to the largest restaurant chains and retailers in the world. Food safety, customer satisfaction, quality, cutting-edge production philosophies and product customization continue to define Lopez Foods as the nation’s largest Hispanic-owned meat processing company.

Because of its 40-year relationship with McDonald’s, Lopez Foods was named the 2015 Supplier of the Year for McDonald’s.

“Lopez Foods has been a partner of FAPC and OSU for some time with John Patrick serving on the FAPC Industry Advisory Committee and the current chair of the group,” said Tom Coon, OSU vice president for agricultural programs. “In addition to hiring graduates, Lopez has provided guidance and utilized FAPC for numerous services. We’re truly thankful for the generosity of John Patrick and Lopez Foods and for their support in growing the food safety program.”

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Oklahoma State University is a modern land-grant university that prepares students for success. OSU has more than 36,000 students across its five-campus system and more than 25,000 on its combined Stillwater and Tulsa campuses, with students from all 50 states and around 120 nations. Established in 1890, Oklahoma State has graduated more than 260,000 students who have been serving Oklahoma and the world for 125 years.