On September 11, 2001 I was a retired professor emeritus on my recumbent exercycle watching CNN when the first plane hit the tower and I never stopped watching for 5 hours. I said to my wife, Jean, “After this event, things will never be the same again.” And that prediction came true. I subsequently worked on several food defense projects for the Institute of Food Technologists and U.S. Food and Drug Administration and then in late 2003 my colleagues recruited me to serve as PI on a competitive proposal for a food defense national center of excellence. Nearly a hundred individuals and organizations joined together with us to compete for the grant that was awarded in mid-2004.
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Food Protection Message
Research has always been placed at the core of the National Center for Food Protection and Defense. Our goal is to create unique and substantial opportunities for researchers to address the food sectors’ most difficult challenges. Last summer, the Center went on a listening tour to identify what challenges existed in industry and government. We received great feedback which was used to identify the research we are funding in 2014.
There is no “I” in team! Nor is there one in Food Defense or the acronym, NCFPD. As we have reflected on these first 10 years, I recognized the significant contribution of a whole host of professionals from a multitude of places. The research portfolio is multidisciplinary. We have former students that are now incredible colleagues in government, industry, and academia. And there is this amazing network of dedicated individuals that support this effort. Whew…my Rolodex requirements have tripled since arriving.
Since its establishment in 2004, NCFPD has made education a priority and central to its mission. With continued and evolving threats to the food system, the development of the current and future workforce is essential. The Center’s education program includes academic curriculum and professional training in addition to student engagement in research. Over our 10 year history, the NCFPD consortium has built an impressive portfolio of curriculum that has generated new courses, has been embedded in existing academic offerings, and continues to be delivered in workplace settings. I have been awestruck by the global reach of our collective education efforts accomplished through our investigators teaching endeavors around the world, industry partner workshops, and collaborative programs with national government and academic partners like Kansas State University.
If you follow our research you know that we have been thinking about the adulteration of food for financial gain for several years. We refer to this as Economically Motivated Adulteration (EMA) and use the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s working definition to guide our efforts:
“fraudulent, intentional substitution or addition of a substance in a product for the purpose of increasing the apparent value of the product or reducing the cost of its production, i.e., for economic gain.”
I find myself in a constant search for an extra week, day, or hour to work on a plan, assessment, or lecture that is due. Since I read the third book of the Harry Potter series, I have longed for the Time-Turner necklace that Hermione Granger uses to take extra classes. Oh, the gift of an hour free of email and meetings to just “catch up” sounds incredibly delightful. As I learned of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) extensions for several proposed rules based on the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act, I realized we had been given a gift of time to thoughtfully review and comment on the proposed rules. We can now think about the big picture of how the rules will work together to protect the food systems.
Most of us have followed the continued development of the story in Japan where police have charged a disgruntled contract employee of Aqli Foods, a subsidiary of Maruha Nichiro Holdings, with intentionally contaminating frozen food products with malathion in late 2013. Malathion is a pesticide...
Minimizing False Alarms in Food Recalls
How can some false alarms in food recalls be minimized?
Very early in August 2013 the consumers in China were shocked by an announcement that products containing whey powder from three batches of material produced by a creditable New...
As you would expect, each day since October 1st I have found myself listening to, reading about, or conversing on the business of the U.S. Government shutdown. Some of these dialogues are coming from the most unexpected places. My 9-year-old daughter posed challenging questions over waffles at breakfast about why a government would shutdown. Along with stories from Lake Woebegone, Garrison Keillor poked fun at politicians during his weekly Prairie Home Companion radio program. Heck, the boys in my house (husband included) are up in arms that their beloved television show, Deadliest Catch, may be canceled this season since there is no federal permitting of boats that would allow them to head out to the crab grounds.
Amy Kircher, DrPH, NCFPD Director
23 Professionals: CHECK...