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Joseph D. Eifert

Professor and Graduate Program Director
Dr. Joseph D. Eifert
401-B HABB1 (0924)
1230 Washington Street SW
Blacksburg, VA 24061


  • Ph.D., Food Science and Technology, Virginia Tech, 1994

  • M.S., Food Science and Technology, Virginia Tech, 1991

  • B.S., Biology, Loyola Marymount University, 1980

Professional Appointments

2017 – Present:  Professor and Graduate Program Director, Virginia Tech; Blacksburg, VA

2004 - 2017:  Associate Professor & Extension Specialist, Virginia Tech; Blacksburg, VA

1998 - 2004:  Assistant Professor & Extension Specialist, Virginia Tech; Blacksburg, VA

1996 - 1997:  Manager of Microbiology, Nestlé USA, Dublin, OH

1989 - 1994:  Graduate Teaching Assistant, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA

1983 - 1989:  Chemist, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Los Angeles, CA

Current Teaching Responsibilities

  • Global Food Laws and Regulations (graduate, 3 credits), biannually, 2000-present

  • Food Animal Product Safety for Veterinarians (graduate, 2 credits), annually, 2008-present

  • Applied Food Microbiology and Sanitation (graduate, 3 credits), biannually, 2007-present

  • Food, War and Conflict (undergraduate, 3 credits), annually, 2015-present

  • Food Safety and Quality Assurance (undergraduate, 3 credits), annually, 2017-present


My primary research emphasis is the microbiology of food surfaces and food contact surfaces which includes the study of ways to reduce pathogens on food surfaces and optimizing the quantitative recovery of pathogenic microorganisms from foods, food contact surfaces, and food processing environments.  Another goal of my research program is to improve the microbiological quality and shelf life of raw and ready-to-eat foods through design of optimum microbiological sampling techniques and sampling plans. 

Recent or current research projects include:

  • reducing the transmission of Campylobacter during poultry processing

  • recovery and transfer of aerosolized Listeria innocua

  • efficacy of cavitation bubbles for removal and inactivation of Salmonella and Listeria from the surface of raw produce

  • optimizing environmental sampling plans for food processors

  • development of food safety educational materials for Spanish-speaking workers, in processed or retail food industries, that emphasize graphic symbols or pictures

  • quantitative microbial risk assessment models to estimate exposure to Campylobacter or Salmonella from consumption of chicken in the United States

Completed theses and dissertations directed or co-advised since 2010:


Reinhard, Robert. “Application of bacteriophage in food manufacturing facilities for the control of Listeria monocytogenes and Listeria spp.” (Dec., 2019)

Masri, Hassan. “Evaluating post-harvest practices on the quality and safety of Kona coffee” (May 2019)

Galagarza, Óscar. “Establishment and Utilization of Tools for Enhancing Foodfish Health” (Dec., 2017) co-advised

Waldron, Calvin. “Recovery and transport of aerosolized Listeria innocua” (July, 2017)

Schroeder, Matthew. “Evaluation of an innovative, employee-driven sign on hand washing behavior changes using video observation” (Oct., 2015)

Wu, Jian. “Inhibiting Listeria monocytogenes, Vibrio parahaemolyticus and Morganella morganii with aqueous methanol extracts of Punica granatum and Galla chinensis” (Oct., 2014) co-advised

Al-Shuniaber, Mohammad. “Risk analysis based on performance criteria: a food safety control system and decision-making tool to control Salmonella from whole broilers” (July, 2014)

Saucedo Alderete, Raúl. “Post-harvest spray treatments to reduce Salmonella contamination on cantaloupe surfaces” (Aug., 2013)

Concha-Meyer, Aníbal.  “Survival of Listeria monocytogenes on blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum) and shelf life determination under controlled atmosphere storage” (July, 2013)


Lee, Joshua. “The effects of cavitation on the removal and inactivation of Listeria and Salmonella on the surface of fresh roma tomatoes and cantaloupes” (Dec., 2016)                    

Masri, Hassan. “Optimizing sample plans to improve microbiological safety in a food processing plant” (May, 2013)    

Waldron, Calvin. “Efficacy of delmopinol in preventing the attachment of Campylobacter jejuni to chicken, stainless steel and high-density polyethylene” (Apr., 2013)

Schroeder, Matthew. “Association of Campylobacter spp. levels between chicken grow-out environmental samples and processed carcasses” (Apr., 2012)

Johnson, Anjeanette. “Airborne Campylobacter spp. in a poultry processing plant” (Apr., 2010)