Phebus, Randall K.

Phebus, Randall K.
223 Call Hall
Manhattan KS 66506
785-532-5681 fax

Area(s) of Specialization

Food Microbiology
Food Safety
Food and Agricultural Security
Food/Meat Processing
Environmental Control & Hygiene



B.S. , University of Tennessee, 1986
M.S. , University of Tennessee, 1988
Ph.D. , University of Tennessee, 1992

Bio Brief

1 Dr. Randy Phebus is from Waverly, Tennessee, a small town 70 miles west of Nashville. He attended the University of Tennessee in Knoxville from 1981-1992, earning B.S. (Animal Science), M.S. and Ph.D. degrees (Food Science). Dr. Phebus joined the K-State ASI department in 1992 and has a 30% teaching and 70% research appointment within the Food Science discipline group. He teaches both undergraduate and graduate level courses in Food Science and is active in the distance learning Global Campus Food Science program and student recruitment. He specializes in food microbiology, food safety, food biosecurity and defense, and public health.

Dr. Phebus coordinates an active applied food safety research program spanning most food categories. He is a member of the K-State Food Science Institute, and holds graduate faculty status in Food Science, Animal Sciences, and Pathobiology. He works closely with food processors, regulators, and technology providers across the country to improve food quality and safety through laboratory-based and processing-based research and troubleshooting activities. Recently, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture appointed him to the National Advisory Committee on Meat and Poultry Inspection. He is a research fellow at the K-State Biosecurity Research Institute, where his team conducts large-scale pathogen-inoculated studies under biocontainment to support food industry food safety needs.

Personally, Dr. Phebus cheers on his Tennessee Volunteers and K-State Wildcats. All of Dr. Phebus' spare time is spent on home improvement and gardening projects that never seem to be completed, and on riding his motorcycle around the beautiful Kansas Flint Hills.


Primary Research Areas:
• Validation of food manufacturing processes and antimicrobial intervention technologies to document effective pathogen control (dry extruded pet foods, fresh and further processed meat products, grain and bakery products, and fruit and vegetables).
• Control of microorganisms in food processing environments.
• Development and validation of post-process pasteurization methods and secondary microbial barriers for control of pathogens in ready-to-eat processed food products.
• Risk assessments to establish the safety of non-intact meat products manufactured using mechanical tenderization, pumping, and restructuring technologies.




The science of food has immediate impact on the daily life of each human on this planet. We must have nutritious, safe and adequate food supplies, along with pure water, to survive. Sounds pretty basic doesn't it? However, not everyone in the world understands the level of science and technology that is required to feed the world, nor do they realize the intricacies involved in marketing, distributing, and consuming food products. Domestic and international laws and trade policies often dictate available food choices, quality and safety, cost, and availability. Food science is an interdisciplinary and highly dynamic area of study, and students majoring in this field can expect to be employed in one of the most robust and competitive industries in the world.

Dr. Phebus teaches FDSCI 302 Introduction to Food Science on campus and by distance to a broad spectrum of undergraduates in different majors, and FDSCI 630/961 Topics: Foodborne Pathogenic Microbiology (team taught with Dr. Sara Gragg) to graduate students. They try to weave a broad perspective into these courses as to the role of science in the production, processing and consumption of all food products.
• Introduction to Food Science [FDSCI 302]
• Foodborne Pathogenic Microbiology [FDSCI 630/961]