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Colorado Touts New Food Safety Center of Excellence

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced that it is naming a collaboration between the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the Colorado School of Public Health’s University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and Colorado State University faculty as one of the new Food Safety Centers of Excellence.

Colorado touted its new center this week, noting that the is to build stronger partnerships between state health departments, schools of public health and agriculture schools to improve foodborne illness outbreak surveillance and investigations. The centers were created under the Food Safety Modernization Act.

Colorado was selected through a “highly competitive selection process” along with Minnesota, Oregon, Tennessee and Florida.

“Colorado has been a leader in efficient and effective foodborne illness investigations, including last year’s investigation of listeria in cantaloupe,” said CDPHE Executive Director Dr. Urbina. “This work, led by disease control experts at the department of health and its state laboratory, helps to reduce the spread of infection through foodborne illness.

“Forty-eight million Americans become ill each year from contaminated food,” stated Colorado School of Public Health assistant professor Elaine Scallan.  “Selection as an Integrated Food Safety Center of Excellence will strengthen our ability to improve food safety both regionally and nationally.”

Dr. Urbina said, “One goal of the Food Safety Modernization Act is to identify best practices that can be implemented to identify outbreaks more quickly and solve them faster. Another will be to develop training for students and public health professionals in outbreak detection and response.”

Learn more about the CDC’s Integrated Food Safety Centers of Excellence at http://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/fsma.html.

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