On June 5, 2015, I was considering the great opportunity I had that would indulge my passion for science as a summer intern at the National Center for Food Protection and Defense at the University of Minnesota. But I was also thinking about how to confront all the things I had to sacrifice for my new life experience. Quitting my two jobs and leaving my husband behind would not be easy. On the other hand, the experience and knowledge that I would acquire in addition to the enrichment in science would be a great benefit for my future career. These facts were more than enough to accept the challenge.
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Economically motivated adulteration (EMA) of food, otherwise known as “food fraud,” is the intentional adulteration or misrepresentation of food for economic gain. Food fraud increases risks to public health, hampers quality assurance programs, and removes the consumer’s ability to make informed food choices. Food safety programs are not enough to reduce the risk of food fraud, since it is an intentional act. Many different factors can affect the risk of a food product or ingredient to fraud, including factors that cause supply shortages, price hikes, or otherwise affect the supply chain. One recent example is the Ebola outbreak centered in West Africa.
Dr. Tim Boyer is one of the Center's resident Epidemiologists. Tim joined FPDI after completing his PhD student work on evaluation of methods to measure antibiotic resistance in livestock and methods of analyzing resistance data.
Amanda Moren is a CoreSHIELD Specialist on our IT team. She manages FoodSHIELD memberships and overall functionality. She is an invaluable resource on CoreSHIELD portal knowledge, assists project managers with specific tasks, and provides webinar and seminar support to FoodSHIELD members.
We just arrived home from Portland, the host city of the International Association of Food Protection Annual Meeting 2015 and Voodoo Doughnuts. As I reflected on the ride home, several highlights and trends became apparent.
It seems to be the lead story once per week – “Cyber attack! Data systems breached; your information may have been compromised”. The story parallels Groundhog Day with new companies and agencies becoming the latest victims each week. Trustwave, a cyber security company, in its annual 2014 report on cyber trends the world over, reported that in 2014 the Food and Beverage Industry is the second most attacked sector with 18% of global incidents.
The National Center for Food Protection and Defense delivered a full day food defense awareness training in collaboration with the Brazilian non-profit industrial training organization, SENAI FIESC, in Florianópolis, Brazil on June 24, 2015. The course kicked off SENAI’s 4th International Food Safety Workshop, a multi-day event supported by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) and the Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC). Erin Mann, Project Manager, and Neal Fredrickson, Assistant Curriculum Coordinator, teamed up to deliver the course.
Is it possible to verify label claims that your honey contains no added sugar, your vanilla is all natural, and your steak was grass-fed? Analysis of a food item for its characteristic stable isotope "signature" can be used to distinguish chemically identical materials and provide quantitative information about the food item's growth or manufacture.
By Tim Boyer, PhD, Epidemiologist, National Center for Food Protection and Defense
The ongoing highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) outbreak illustrates the vulnerability of the United States food and agriculture system to transboundary animal diseases. As of May 28, 2015, the disease has been confirmed in 197 poultry operations in 15 states. Approximately 45 million birds have been affected, comprising 10% of the country’s laying hens and 8% of turkeys.
This work describes Dr. Mukundan's team's efforts to detect bacterial pathogens with sensitivity and specificity in complex samples such as beef. The use of unique, sensitive biosensor platforms and tailor made assays to target lipidic signatures in an aqueous background will be described specifically for shiga toxin carrying E.coli in the beef chain.