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Welton I. Taylor

Microbiological Food Safety and Testing

U.S. Patent No. 4,010,078
Inducted in 2016
Born Nov. 12, 1919 - Died Nov. 1, 2012
Military Service: U.S. Army

Welton Taylor was a globally-renowned clinical research microbiologist, educator, and inventor who worked at Swift & Company, an American food processing firm, from 1954 to 1959, when it experienced a salmonella outbreak in a dried egg yolk product meant for babies. With his colleague John Silliker, Taylor developed a highly accurate method to test egg yolks for salmonella, a method still used today. The two co-authored five papers on the role of salmonellae—the bacteria that causes salmonellosis food poisoning—and food safety.

During his career, Taylor advanced microbiology in outstanding ways. He developed rapid methods for identifying the presence of three types of bacteria—including salmonellae—that cause food poisoning, methods eventually adopted by health care officials worldwide to safeguard processed food. The World Health Organization requested his assistance at Central Public Health Labs in Colindale, London, England, and the Pasteur Institute in Lille, France.

Taylor's patents and an estimated 40 published papers not only broke new ground, but formed the basis for further microbiological and bacteriological progress, and continue to influence bacteriologists and microbiologists today. He earned his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in bacteriology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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