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.
The National Center for Food Protection and Defense represented a host of disciplines included microbiology, chemistry, public health, economics, engineering, medicine, communications, education, business and many more. The investigators were the exceptional leaders in their fields from a number of partner universities and public and private organizations who were committed to doing the right thing. NCFPD set a tone of concern, coordination, commitment, and cooperation that continues today.
The success of NCFPD reflects the extraordinary efforts of the many researchers, staff and students who leveraged their individual strengths for the overall accomplishments. A review of the NCFPD web site, http://www.ncfpd.umn.edu, demonstrates the accomplishments in the listings of research projects, investigators, publications, educational programs, collaborators and staff. In lieu of singling out individuals, I thank all these individuals and groups for their assistance and contributions over the past 10 years. We all should be proud of what we have done.
As I leave NCFPD to assume a roll as a full-time Director Emeritus (that means retired), there is no question that NCFPD is in good hands. I trust that all of you from the many universities, government agencies, and the private sector who have contributed to food defense over the past 10+ years experience the same great satisfaction that I do about serving a scientific, technical and educational role in doing what was important and needed. Thank you for what you have done for our Center, our nation and our citizens.
I intend to keep in touch!
Francis F. Busta, PhD is the National Center for Food Protection and Defense's Director Emeritus. Dr. Busta's research has focused in the areas of food safety, growth and survival of microorganisms after environmental stress in food, and microbial ecology of the colon. He has published more than 125 refereed research papers and continues to contribute his expertise to courses such as food microbiology and issues in food science.