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Food Safety and Food Defense in the Americas

Investigators
Singer, Randall
Institutions
University of Minnesota
Start date
2009
End date
2012
Objective
The ease and speed with which food products are shipped around the world has increased dramatically in recent years. Consequently, food safety and the transmission of foodborne pathogens has become a truly global issue. Furthermore, it is impossible to assess the vulnerability of these foods to intentional contamination events without a solid understanding of the production chain of each food system. To have a safe and protected food supply, a multi-national, multi-disciplinary approach is required. This project will develop a U.S. - Latin American network of research and education in the areas of food safety and food defense.

The Specific Aims of this project are:

  1. To examine and quantify the risks of intentional and unintentional contamination of the food supply with particular focus on products imported / exported between the U.S. and Latin America
  2. To educate and train U.S. and Latin American students, professionals and producers in the methods needed to assess the local and global food safety and food defense risks associated with the global food supply The research will focus on applying novel statistical sampling methodologies for the detection and quantification of foodborne pathogens and bioweapons in imported food. We will also continue to develop a multi-disciplinary food safety education program in the U.S. and Latin America through the expansion of our Summer Schools in Minnesota and Latin America and the continued training of veterinary students and graduate students from the U.S. and Latin America in food safety and food defense research and policy.
More information
NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY: The ease and speed with which animals, animal products and food are shipped around the world has increased dramatically in recent years. Consequently, food safety and the transmission of foodborne pathogens has become a truly global issue, where local food production conditions can affect people over broad spatial and temporal scales. A multi-national, multi-disciplinary approach is required in order to reduce the incidence of foodborne illness associated with imported foods. This project will develop a U.S. - Latin American network of research and education. Through this network, we will offer graduate students in the U.S. and Latin America the opportunity to perform short research projects in other countries. We will train senior-year veterinary students in international veterinary public health. We will continue to organize an International Summer School in Public Health and Food Safety in Latin America. These multi-national endeavors will help establish a food safety and food defense network in the Americas and will help reduce the incidence of foodborne illness in the U.S. associated with imported foods.

APPROACH: The research will focus on methods that are critical for elucidating the role of imported foods in U.S. foodborne illnesses as well as designing interventions for reducing these risks. We will apply novel statistical sampling methodologies to the detection and quantification of foodborne pathogens in imported food. We will use data on Salmonella and E. coli in the U.S. and Latin America to design quantitative microbial risk assessments and attribution analyses. This project will enable the identification of potential control points and interventions. Finally, we will further develop a multi-disciplinary food safety and food defense education program in the U.S. and Latin America. We will expand our Summer School in Public Health and Food Safety in Latin America, we will train veterinary students and graduate students from the U.S. and Latin America in food safety research, and we will enroll Latin American professionals in an Executive MPH program. These multi-national endeavors will help establish a food safety network in the Americas and will help reduce the incidence of foodborne illness in the U.S. associated with imported foods and prepare professionals in the Americas in the area of food defense.

Funding Source
Nat'l. Inst. of Food and Agriculture
Project source
View this project
Project number
MINE-2009-01035
Accession number
218580
Categories
Bacterial Pathogens
Food Defense and Integrity
Risk Assessment, Management, and Communication
Natural Toxins