Elizabeth Grasso-Kelley, Ph.D.

Chief, Food Technology Branch, FDA


Room 423, Bldg. 90





Food Microbiology
Low-Moisture Food Safety


B.S. in Food Science
M.S. in Food Science and Nutrition
Ph.D. in Food Science and Technology


Food Microbiology, Food Safety, Low-Moisture Foods


  • Evaluation of the use of processing steps as a means to control pathogenic microorganisms and chemical toxins
  • Microbial transfer from contaminated food products to food-contact surfaces
  • Effects of sanitizers on inactivation of microbes on food-contact surfaces
  • Thermal resistance of pathogenic microorganisms in low-moisture foods
  • Low moisture food microbiology to understand the effects of environment of microbial growth and inactivation kinetics
  • Best practices for the cleaning and sanitation of high fat, low-moisture food processing equipment
  • Effects of inoculation on microbial survival and inactivation in food matrices
  • Effect of storage conditions on the survival of microorganisms in food products over time


  • 2012-2014, United States Department of Agriculture/Agriculture and Food Research Initiative-National Institute for Food and Agriculture Postdoctoral Fellowship Award
  • 2010-2012, United States Food and Drug Administration Commissioner’s Fellowship
  • 2010, Career Development Grant, The Ohio State University, Council of Graduate Students
  • 2010, First place, Doctoral Competition, The Ohio State University, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center Annual Research Poster Competition
  • 2007-2010, United States Department of Agriculture National Needs Fellowship
  • 2009, Outstanding Graduate Student Research Award, The Ohio State University Department of Food Science & Technology
  • 2007, Second place, Institute of Food Technologists Student Association Graduate Research Paper Competition
  • 2007, Finalist, Hayes Forum Oral Competition, The Ohio State University, Council of Graduate Students
  • 2006, Third Place, Institute of Food Technologists Student Association/Phi Tau Sigma Graduate Research Paper Competition
  • 2006, Finalist, Hayes Forum Poster Competition, The Ohio State University, Council of Graduate Students

National and International Committee Panels 

  • 2013-present, Chair for the International Association of Food Protection Low Moisture Food Safety Professional Development Group
  • 2013-present, Reviewer for the Journal of Peanut Science
  • 2011-present, Reviewer for the Journal of Food Science
  • 2011-present, Liaison, Low Moisture Food Safety Task Force, Institute for Food Safety and Health


  • 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


Grasso, E.M., Grove, S.F., Halik, L.A., Arritt, F., Keller, S.E. 2014. Cleaning and sanitation of Salmonella-contaminated peanut butter processing equipment. Food Microbiology. In press.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.