Staff alumni of the National Live Stock and Meat Board have donated $1,160 to the American Meat Science Association (AMSA) Scholarship Fund in honor of longtime Meat Board employee H. Kenneth Johnson, who died May 10, 2023. He was 81 years old.
Johnson joined the Meat Board in 1972 as its director of merchandising and was Meat Board vice president of meat science for many years. His work was revolutionary and improved the effectiveness, understanding and professionalism of the food industry throughout his career.
The influence Johnson had on the field of meat science was immense. In fact, it could be said that his impact could be seen in almost every package of meat sold in the United States. His work on the nationally recognized Uniform Retail Meat Identity Standards retail labeling program, for instance, was adopted by leading retail chains and provided consistently understandable guidance for consumers on the identification of meat cuts. He was also key to many other highly pivotal academic, government and industry meat science projects during his Meat Board tenure.
The awards Johnson received during his career were numerous. He was selected to the Meat Industry Hall of Fame in 2010.
The AMSA’s first executive director, Johnson was an active member for almost 50 years and served on many of its committees and on its board of directors. He received his bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University and his master’s degree from the University of Connecticut.
Johnson is survived by his high school sweetheart, Dawn, who he married in 1963, as well as by two children, numerous grandchildren and one great grandchild. Funds donated in Johnson’s honor were collected during a Meat Board staff reunion in Chicago in late September 2023.
Information for this article was obtained from a piece appearing in the June 2023 Newsletter of Phi Tau Sigma, the Honor Society of Food Science and Technology, by Kathryn L. Kotula, Ph.D.