The Residue Chemistry and Predictive Microbiology Research Unit had its origins as the Microbial Investigations group of the Meat Laboratory at Beltsville, MD in the mid-1950s. Dr. John Alford was the head of Microbial Investigations and Mr. William Sulzbacher was Laboratory Chief.
In 1971, the microbiology group was transferred to the Center here at Wyndmoor and then was combined into the Meat, Hides, and Leather Laboratory, with Dr. J. Naghski as its head.
Dr. Naghski retired in 1976, and, at this time, the research activities were again separated and Dr. Aaron Wasserman became head of the Meat Lab and the head of the microbial investigations group.
With Dr. Wasserman's retirement in 1980 and to reflect the increasing emphasis with food safety, the laboratory was renamed the Food Safety Laboratory, Dr. Donald Thayer became its first chief.
In 1986, to reflect further emphasis and interest in the microbiological aspects of food safety, and to reflect changes in the overall organization of the Center, the Microbial Food Safety Research Unit was created, with Dr. Robert Buchanan as its first Research Leader.
Dr. Arthur Miller became Research Leader in 1994 when Dr. Buchanan transferred to the Food Safety and Inspection Service of USDA.
In 1993 the Centers of Excellence (CE) program was initiated by USDA Secretary Madagan establishing cooperative ventures between agencies of USDA and 1890 Land Grant Institutions (LGI) in order to promote interest in careers in agricultural research and service among African American students.
Official funding began in 1994 as the result of a Memorandum of Understanding among UMES, ARS, and FSIS. ARS was the Lead Agency of USDA and began the cooperative venture in 1995 by establishing an ARS location at UMES - the Poultry Food Safety Research Unit under the leadership of Dr. Thomas Oscar.
Congressional funding for the CE program was terminated in 1996 essentially ending direct participation by FSIS. Consequently, Dr. Horn decided to convert the ARS location at University of Maryland Eastern Shore in Princess Anne, MD, to a worksite of the MFSRU in Wyndmoor dedicated to poultry safety research with Dr. Thomas Oscar as the Location Coordinator and Lead Scientist.
Although Congress ended official support for the CE program in 1996, ARS maintains an interest in the CE concept. This is demonstrated by the continued establishment of CE at 1890 LGI using ARS funds.
A second worksite of the MFSRU in Wyndmoor, dedicated to seafood safety research, opened in 1998 on the campus of Delaware State University, Dover, DE, with Dr. Gary Richards serving as Location Coordinator and Lead Scientist.
In 1999, after Dr. Miller moved on to the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition of the FDA, Dr. Samuel A. Palumbo served as Acting Research Leader until Dr. John B. Luchansky was appointed as Research Leader.