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Obituary: Joseph H Hulse, FIFST and Hon FIFST, FIAFoST, DSc. (1923-2013)

Ralph Blanchfield remembers Joe Holse, who passed away on 22 October 2013 at the age of 90

With the death of Joe Hulse, on 22 October 2013 at the age of 90, humanity and our profession have lost a true giant. British by birth and early career, he later made his home in Canada, and it was there and in developing countries, especially in India, that his major activities took place. If one counts practical experience in his father’s bakery from the age of 4, and working as a youth in a pig and poultry farm, and excludes time in the UK Royal Air Force, Joe Hulse has been involved with food technology for 80 years. His was an outstanding lifetime career, not only in its sustained length and diversity but also in practical activities as well as teaching and writing dedicated to helping to alleviate poverty and contributing to solving the problem of food security.

His academic background was as follows:
• BSc in Industrial Biochemistry, University of Manchester (1943).
• Research Fellow at Royal College of Science and Technology, Glasgow University (1947-1951).
• Honorary DSc, University of Guelph (1980).
• Third World Academy lecturer on future food security in poor nations (1987–95)
• External examiner to five American universities engaged cooperatively in USAID programme on agricultural and food utilisation in the semi-arid tropics (1989).
• Distinguished Visiting Professor to M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (1993-2010)
• Visiting Professor at CFTRI/IFTTC, Mysore, lecturing on Agribusiness Management and Food Systems Analysis. (1994-2010). (The last two positions involved considerable work in training poor rural women in agribusiness techniques, including the design of factory to process forest food and plant medicinal extracts.)
• Visiting Professor University of Manchester Institute of Science & Technology on Biotechnology Industries [Agriculture, Food and Pharmaceuticals] – Current trends in research, product development and management. [In 2004 UMIST was absorbed into the University of Manchester] (2000-2009)
• Visiting Professor in International Development to University of Waterloo, Canada. (2009-to 2011)
• Waterloo University course adopted Joe’s book: “Sustainable Development at Risk” as course text book.

Contemporaneous with some of Joe’s external appointments and activities were periods of employment.
Following graduation in 1943, Joe volunteered for the Royal Air Force and was called up as an officer trainee and posted to Bomber Command, where he served with distinction in various capacities. In 1945 he was appointed in charge of educational and vocational training (EVT) of personnel on his Station, to help them prepare for civilian occupations. Also in 1945, Joe designed containers for flour for free-fall drop to starving Netherlanders. His squadron was responsible for flour delivery.

In 1947-1952, Joe joined the newly created British Baking Industries Research Association (BBIRA) and was appointed to a Research Fellowship in the department of pharmaceutical and food chemistry at the Royal College of Science and Technology, a unit of Glasgow University, to undertake research for BBIRA (which at the time had no laboratory facilities), to act as technical adviser to BBIRA members in Scotland and Ireland, and to recruit new members. His research was mostly devoted to the biochemical and biophysical modifications that occur during bread staling. He also began the work that culminated in the mechanical dough development known as the Chorleywood Bread Process. He also spent more than a month at the Low Temperature Research Station in Cambridge conducting research on animal blood albumins and their possible use in baked cakes and adapted insertion of canular into jugular of stunned bovine to replace unhygienic blood collection in metal trays from slit throats of bovines.

In 1952 -1960 under the Canadian Research Board, he worked as research biochemist in the food and nutrition division of the Defence Research Medical Laboratories (DRML). In 1954, he was appointed Director of the Food and Nutrition Division, the youngest head of a division in DRB.

In 1960-66 Joe became Director of Research of Maple Leaf Mills (MLM). During his time at MLM he was elected vice-chair of the Canadian National Research Council’s committee on fats and oils, a committee that sponsored and encouraged government support for research to develop rapeseed oil that is low in erucic acid and glucosinalin (now known as Canola). He was also elected chair of the food and beverage industries committee on food additives legislation; and a member of the commission, chaired by the President of the University of Saskatchewan, that studied and made recommendations on the present and future structure and programme of the Winnipeg Grain Research Laboratories.

In 1960-63, he played a leading role in the creation of the International Food Technology Training Centre Mysore, India (IFTTC). Joe presented the proposal for a Canada-Mysore project to the chair of the Canadian Freedom from Hunger Campaign (FFHC) committee. He was appointed chair of the Canada-Mysore Project (CMP), a member of the Canadian FFHC committee, and subsequently as chair of the Canadian FFHC. Money to support the CMP was provided largely by the Canadian food industries. Joe established an industry committee composed of the CEOs of 20 major food companies. CMP fund-raising committees were set up in most major Canadian cities, and several NGOs, such as Canadian Save the Children Fund, made sizable contributions to the CMP. Joe visited India and took several hundred slides illustrative of the need for improved food preservation. The training centre at Mysore began in 1963, since when it has trained more than 8,000 men and women from 49 developing countries in food preservation. During his early visit to India, Joe met with the Vice-Chancellor of Mysore University, who agreed to award M.Sc. degrees to anyone who successfully completed a two-year course, each initially paid for by a Canadian company. The Centre, now the Central Food Technology Research Institute (CFTRI) is now self-supporting, and the Government of India provides scholarships to enable poorer students to attend.

In 1967, Joe joined FAO in Rome as Assistant Director of Nutrition with responsibility for nine large food industry development programmes, financed by UNDP. He also bore responsibility for the direction of the Codex Alimentarius programme.

Late in 1969, Maurice Strong, President of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) visited Rome and invited Joe to return to Canada to become his Scientific Advisor. He moved back to Canada and advised CIDA on potential agricultural projects, particularly ones related to regional storage of grain and other food commodities.

1970-1984, Joe was invited and became Director of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) Agricultural Sciences division. In discussions it was agreed that his role should be broadened to being director of an Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Sciences Division, since it was Joe’s conviction that production and post-production systems had to be intimately integrated and that development was never a uni-disciplinary activity. So in September 1970 he joined IDRC as the first senior scientist and Director of the AFNS Division. Meanwhile, he continued during the following year his role as Scientific Advisor to CIDA, while selecting staff for the AFNS Division. He served as Director until 1984. Among the many areas of activity of AFNS were farming systems research and research on neglected resources. During these years AFNS influenced the shape that two other development agencies – one in Australia, the other in Sweden – took in planning programmes of supportive research.  Joe spent two weeks in Canberra advising the Australian team, while senior staff of SAREC came to Ottawa to study the experience of IDRC and AFNS in particular. In 1984, Joe was promoted to Vice-President with overall responsibility for three divisions of IDRC -- AFNS, Health and Social Sciences.

Early in 1971 the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations, which had established and financed the Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre in Mexico, and the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines, invited Joe and representatives of five other donor/development agencies to a meeting in New York. The eight participants (including those from Ford and Rockefeller) decided the time was propitious to establish a network of International Agricultural Research Centres (IARCs). The World Bank then hosted a second, larger meeting and offered to house and pay for a permanent secretariat for what became known as the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). Soon after its founding the CGIAR created a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), a group of internationally renowned scientists, and the FAO in Rome housed this committee’s secretariat. Joe, a founding member of the CGIAR, served on its group of donors for 16 years, until he resigned from IDRC in 1987.

Joe was appointed Executing Agent by the CGIAR for the establishment of five new IARCs: the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in India; International Centre for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA) at Aleppo in Syria ; International Livestock Centre for Africa (ILCA); International Centre for Agro-forestry (ICRAF) in Kenya; and the International Institute for Bananas and Plantains (INIBAP) in Southern France.  AFNS had created and financed the last two until they were admitted to the CGIAR.

After resigning from IDRC in 1987, Joe continued to work, until the age of 87, on poverty alleviation and food security in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. In 1987, he was a member of a World Bank committee that designed a programme of research for the International Centre on Forestry Research.  Also in 1987, at the request of the Canadian government, he worked as adviser to poor Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza and helped organise the registration of an institute to assist small-scale farmers and agro-industries there to improve their production practices.

From the early 1990s Joe worked with poor rural women in Pondicherry and Tamil Nadu, South India, to assist them in several initiatives: horticulture, mushroom cultivation, and poly-culture of carp in village ponds. This was all part of the M S Swaminathan Biovillages Programme. From 1994 he helped poor tribal women in Karnataka and Kerala states to improve subsistence food crop production and utilisation. For the tribal women of Karnataka a food processing factory was designed to prepare for sale fruits, nuts, vegetables, spices and wild honey harvested from the natural forest, which had been the home for many generations of the Soligas tribe. On his advice, some 40 women were trained at the CFTRI/IFTTC at Mysore in hygienic methods of processing and preserving the foods of the forest. Provided with a design, the women built the processing factory that now operates in an admirably efficient manner. Over 60 forest plant extracts were found to have medicinal properties, and have been registered as Ayurvedic drugs with the Indian Medical Research Council.

His final active involvement in India was in assistance and support for a Karnataka hostel for homeless women. After being raped, Indian women are considered unclean by their husbands and families; many are turned out and become homeless. An Indian religious organisation established hostels for the homeless women, and Joe helped further this effort with training in horticulture, handicrafts and dairying.  For, when cured of the acute trauma induced by rape and homelessness, the women are trained in skills to help them earn a living. The demand upon the hostel has been heavy, and a larger hostel is now under construction on land provided by the Karnataka government.

In 1969, Joe was Scientific Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General and to ECOSOC in New York on the state of World Food and Nutrition.

In 1978 he was appointed by Sir John Kendrew, then President of the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU), as Chair (later President]) of the ICSU Commission on the Application of Science to Agriculture, Food, Forestry and Fisheries. The notion of need for such a commission originated in the UK Royal Society; among the eight distinguished scientists who comprised it were Professor M S Swaminathan, Sir Charles Pereira, Dr Hosny El Lakany (Assistant Director-General of Forestry in FAO), plus scientific representatives of 25 National Academies of Science including the Royal Society, the US NAS, the Soviet National Academy and the National Research Council of Canada. The most notable of the Commission’s publications was a paper covering “Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security”, as requested by the organisers of the 1992 Conference on Environment and Development convened in Rio. The revised 138-page document was issued for the Johannesburg conference ten years later. The Commission sadly concluded that little of relevance had been achieved in the decade following Rio.

In 1980, Joe chaired a mission that defined food security programme for the Southern African Development Commission (SADC).  In 1987, he was a member of Brundtland Commission Panel on Sustainable Agriculture; Joe wrote most of the Panel’s report.

Among his many Awards and Honours the following are the most significant:
1978 - Elected Honorary Fellow of the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology.
1980 - Elected Honorary Fellow of the UK, Australian and New Zealand Institutes of Food Science and Technology
1983 - Awarded Medal of the Polish Academy of Sciences: “For distinguished service to international food science”.
1997 - Elected a Fellow of the International Academy of Food Science and Technology.  
1998 - Elected outstanding Alumnus of UMIST (the second person to receive the Award; elected by the Faculty and students from more than 40,000 graduates). 
1998 - Elected Conservation of the Environment Award by Rotary Clubs and the Earthcare Society of India (the only non-Indian to receive the Award).
2000 - Elected Fellow for life of the Indian Association of Food Science & Technology
2006 - Elected Foreign Fellow of the Year and Fellow for Life of the Indian Academy of Sciences
2008 - Received the Padma Shri Award, the Indian Government’s highest civilian honour, rarely awarded    to non-Indians, and regarded by the Indian Government as equivalent to a British knighthood. It was awarded for (a) his raising funds to establish the International Training Centre at Mysore; and (b) his most recent work, to relieve poverty and improve the lives of poor tribal and homeless women in South India.

In 1960, Joe was one of the “Founders”, a small group of international scientists whose discussions led to the formation in 1962 of the International Committee of Food Science and Technology (ICFoST) after the 1st World Congress in London, which gave birth to IUFoST at the 3rd World Congress in Washington in 1970. In recognition of his important role as a Founder, he was chosen to give, at the IUFoST World Congress in Toronto in 1991, the very first Founders Lecture. He served as President of IUFoST, 1979-1983. 
In more recent years he has played an active part in IUFoST, in discussions relating to food security and as Chair of an IUFoST  Task Force on Integrated Food Systems.

Joe has published over 250 papers and articles, and chapters in books, most in English, a few in French. Of particular note are five important books:
The Science, Raw Materials and Hygiene of Baking (1952)
Polyphenols in Cereals and Legumes (1980)
Sorghum and the Millets: Their Composition and Nutritive Value (1980)
Science, Agriculture, and Food Security (1995)
Sustainable Development at Risk: Ignoring the Past (2008)
Copies of all Hulse publications are deposited in libraries of Bibliotecha Alexandrina in Alexandria, Egypt and CFTRI, Mysore, India.

It has been the writer’s great privilege to have known Joe Hulse for many years. From the foregoing it may be mistakenly assumed that he could have had no time for the lighter aspects of life. One of my happiest memories of Joe was after dinner at an IFST annual conference at York University, when he surprised many of those present by giving an accomplished jazz piano recital.

Ave atque vale, Joe!

J Ralph Blanchfield, MBE

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