UA Food Safety Experts Team Up to Reduce Foodborne Illness

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Think you have the flu? Think again – that stomach upset could actually be foodborne illness.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 48 million people in the United States are stricken with foodborne illness annually, or one in six Americans. Among those, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die.

Tackling this global epidemic is the University of Arizona Food Safety Consortium, which brings together experts from the UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, other UA departments, the Arizona Department of Agriculture and state health agencies.

The consortium is sponsoring national experts in the field of food safety at its third annual Food Safety Conference and Poster Session on Oct. 12 at the Omni Tucson National Resort. Among the speakers are Jeanette Thurston from USDA's Division of Food Safety and Shannon Cole, senior director of science program management for the Grocery Manufacturers Association.

The 60-member Food Safety Consortium, formed in 2010, fosters research collaborations and shares critical information with producers, with the goal of preventing foodborne illness locally and globally.

"Many of the members are well known throughout the world in their areas of expertise,'' said Lynn Joens, professor of veterinary science and microbiology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, who heads up the consortium.

The consortium was formed by Ron Allen, now associate dean for research in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

"The goal is to get our data out and to bring money in to award grants to new investigators coming in for research that can be shared with USDA or even the National Institutes of Health,'' Joens added.

Read the rest of this October 8 article from UANews at the link below.

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