Joe Regenstein: A Scientist in Perpetual Motion

RegensteinShelf Life Advice has an Advisory Board of five scientists who help us create accurate content to guide you in the supermarket and the kitchen.   We have been gradually introducing our readers to each of our board members. This month our featured advisor is Dr. Joe Regenstein, whose academic career has many interesting facets.


A self-admitted workaholic, food scientist Dr. Joe Regenstein is one very busy guy.  As a member of this site’s Advisory Board, he has provided valuable information for many of our articles.  But that’s just one of a great many hats he wears.  He teaches, writes scientific articles, does research on fish and poultry, and travels extensively to lecture about his areas of expertise.


Like three of our four other members of our Board, Regenstein is a food scientist.  Both his bachelor of arts in chemistry and his master of science in dairy chemistry were earned at Cornell University.  He received a Ph.D. in biophysics from Brandeis University in 1973.  He has served on the faculty of Cornell University, in the Department of Food Science (and previously in the Department of Poultry Science) since 1974.


With his wife Carrie, Dr. Regenstein has written two books:  Food Protein Chemistry, An Introduction for Food Scientists and An Introduction to Fish Technology.  In addition, he has published numerous scientific articles.


The following areas of study have been the focus of Dr. Regenstein’s research: meats, particularly fish and poultry, with an emphasis on how meat proteins affect the foods we eat; shelf-life extension of fresh and frozen fish; product development with under-utilized fish, especially minced or mechanically deboned fish (i.e. fish hamburger); aquaculture; and by-product recovery (edible, and non-edible products) from poultry and fish processing wastes, especially the production of fish gelatin. 


Dr. Regenstein is an expert on halal (Muslim) and kosher (Jewish) laws, especially those regulations concerning the slaughtering of animals and avoidance of forbidden foods or food combinations.  He teaches a course on halal and kosher law at Cornell and as an adjunct professor at Kansas State University, where the course is available on distance learning. He also heads the Cornell Kosher and Halal Food Initiative, which provides services to the kosher and halal food sectors.  In addition, he has edited books on kosher food production and on halal food production.


Another area of great interest to Dr. Regenstein is the development of more humane treatment of animals. In 2007, Dr. Regenstein gave a talk on the Spirit of Humane program in Adana, Turkey. He is currently working with Spirit of Humane to design low-cost halal/humane slaughter equipment. (


International travel has been a frequent part of Dr. Regenstein’s professional life.  As a guest speaker or the recipient of an award, he’s gone to parts of the world that many folks couldn’t locate on a map and, in some cases, would be unsure how to pronounce.  Here’s just a partial list of places he’s visited for professional reasons: Aberdeen, Scotland; Singapore; Kuala Lupur; Girona, Spain; New Zealand; Guangzhou, Wuxi, Beijing and Shanghai, China; the Hague; and Adana, Turkey.


Dr. Regenstein’s bio lists a great many awards and membership on many committees involved in food science. In 2003, Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Science presented him with its award for efforts to promote multicultural diversity.   He has been asked to be the co-editor of Food Bioscience, which will be the first English peer-reviewed scientific journal originating in China. He was a member of Governor Mario Cuomo’s Kosher Food Advisory Council and was responsible for getting the FDA to require labeling of the coatings of fresh fruits and vegetables in consumer-friendly language.


In the ongoing dispute between those who are dedicated supporters of the organic movement and those who are not, it’s clear which side Dr. Regenstein is on.  He refers to the organic movement as “an expensive ‘religion’ without any real ‘showstopper’ advantages.” He advises consumers to “just buy a range of foods that are available today, relax a bit more, enjoy life and eating, and save their money to buy electric cars, solar water heaters, and personal windmills.”


About other Shelf Life Advice Advisory Board members:


To see academic affiliations and photos of the scientists on our Advisory Board, click here.


To read about Dr. Bowser, click here.


To read about Dr. Cutter, click here.



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