MINNETONKA, Minn. — Howard Bauman, who led the Pillsbury Co.'s effort to design space food for astronauts, has died. He was 76.
Bauman, who died Wednesday of complications from pulmonary disease, was a Pillsbury food scientist for 36 years. His team designed food for 1960s space flights that could resist high temperatures and humidity, be thrown against walls without breaking and last 30 days without refrigeration.
One of Bauman's daughters, Vicki Zobel, said the Smithsonian Institution in Washington has in its space exhibit an example of the "gunk-covered brownie cubes"--as a newspaper once described them--that her father made decades ago.
Born in Woodworth, Wis., Bauman received a doctorate in microbiology at the University of Wisconsin in 1953.
Bob Wooden, who worked as a scientist for Bauman, said Bauman's early efforts at Pillsbury led to ready-made doughs that would last up to 90 days in a refrigerator, compared to seven days in the 1940s.
What made Bauman famous, Wooden said, was his work at Pillsbury on behalf of the space program in the early 1960s. NASA wanted food that was microbe-free, which led to Bauman's revolutionary efforts in food production and testing, Wooden said.
Bauman's work also led to a food safety program used throughout the world today. The program, Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points, "is something Howard truly pioneered," said Jim Behnke, a former colleague of Bauman's at Pillsbury. "The fundamental thing HACCP changed was that we went from inspection to prevention," Behnke added. "HACCP is to food safety and quality assurance what fluoride is to dentistry."
Bauman is survived by two daughters, two sisters and three grandchildren.