In Memoriam John Ingram Pitt (23 March 2022)

It is with deep sadness that the Commission has learned about the passing of Dr John Pitt on 23 March 2022 after a hard battle against lymphoma.

John was a long-standing and active member of the Commission from 1990 to 2002. Furthermore, John worked with the Commission from 1987 to 1990 and in 2003. John contributed considerably to various ICMSF publications and especially to the microbial ecology areas in our series of books. It was a great privilege for our membership to work with him.

Recognised as a global expert in food mycology, he shared his unique expertise on safety and spoilage issues of food related to fungi through many different organisations.

John for instance completed 65 years of service to the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in March 2019 and contributed to the work of the International Commission for Food Mycology (ICFM), International Commission for Penicillium and Aspergillus (ICPA), WHO Food-borne Disease Burden Epidemiology Reference Group (FERG) and Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives and Contaminants. He was awarded many Honours during his lifetime.

For many of us in ICMSF, John’s books and other publications were what we ‘grew up’ with learning food mycology. During his extensive career, John contributed to 20 books and published 250+ research papers and book chapters which shaped the area of food mycology and mycotoxins. John left a great legacy and has been a constant source of inspiration for the food mycology community all over the world. Many of his methods are standard procedures in industrial and research labs today. One of his last efforts was on the 4th edition of the book “Fungi and Food Spoilage”, which as yet is to be published.

With John Pitt we not only lose a great scientist and influencer in the fields of food mycology and fungal systematics but also a Commission member, a great personality and a fine colleague. He was and will always be a legend in this field. He was a great man to work with and a kind person. His work will last for many generations of food mycologists, microbiologists, myco-toxicologists and so on. We will dearly miss him. Our thoughts are with his wife Pat, Ian, Gordon and family.

Leon Gorris, ICMSF secretary

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