Today we celebrate educators. In the days ahead we’ll celebrate leaders in consumer groups, government agencies, non-government organizations, the food industry and the news media. Of course, no list is ever complete so if you think we’ve forgotten someone, please leave us a note in the comments.
The focus of the best of the best in food safety at America’s colleges and universities ranges from microbiology to sociology and from epidemiology to risk communication. In alphabetical order, those who deserve a pat on the back include: Michael Batz Michael Batz is Executive Director of the Food Safety Research Consortium and Head of Food Safety Programs at the University of Florida Emerging Pathogens Institute. His research centers on the use of information and analytic tools to improve regulatory and public health decision making, particularly in food safety. Specific interests include risk ranking, mathematical modeling, resource prioritization, health valuation, food attribution and decision making under uncertainty. Robert Bracket, PhD Bob Brackett is Vice President of the Illinois Institute of Technology, where he is Director of the Institute for Food Safety and Health. Before joining IFSH, Dr. Brackett served as Senior Vice President and Chief Science and Regulatory Officer for the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and as Director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition before that. Christine Bruhn, PhD Christine Bruhn is a Cooperative Extension Specialist in the Department of Food Science and Technology at the University of California-Davis. She has expertise in consumer behavior, food science and consumer economics. Dr. Bruhn studies consumer attitudes toward food safety and quality and guides educational programs that inform consumers about food safety, new products and new technologies. Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) CIDRAP is a member of the Consortium on Law and Values in Health, Environment and the Life Sciences, which aims to support work on the legal, ethical and policy implications of problems in health, environment and the life sciences. The Consortium coordinates among and builds on the strength of 17 centers and programs at the University of Minnesota. Michael Osterholm, PhD, MPH, is director of CIDRAP. Ben Chapman, PhD Ben Chapman provides leadership and technical expertise for the statewide North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension food safety education program, where he develops and evaluates programs that focus on safe food-handling from farm-to-fork. Through using new methods and messages, Ben hopes to provide information that helps create a culture of food safety. Michael Doyle, PhD Mike Doyle is a Regents Professor of Food Microbiology and Director of the Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia. He is an active researcher in the area of food safety and security and works closely with the food industry, government agencies and consumer groups on issues related to the microbiological safety of foods. Angela Fraser, PhD Angela Fraser is an Associate Professor and Food Safety Specialist in the Department of Food, Nutrition and Packaging Sciences at Clemson University. Dr. Fraser has worked in the area of food safety education since 1987, having held government, teaching and extension positions. Her Extension activities center around the development and evaluation of food safety programs targeting consumers and the retail/foodservice industry. Robert Gravani, PhD Bob Gravani is a Professor in the Cornell University Department of Food Science. He is actively engaged in food safety extension and outreach activities with all sectors of the food system including production agriculture, food processing, food retailing, food service, regulatory training, consumer information, as well as food protection and defense (food biosecurity). Bob’s current research focuses on Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and assisting growers and packing house operators reduce microbial hazards and risks in the production and packing of fresh fruits and vegetables. Craig Hedberg, PhD Craig Hedberg is a professor in the Division of Environmental Health Services at the University of Minnesota. He has extensive practical experience investigating foodborne and infectious disease outbreaks. His research interests include foodborne disease surveillance systems, the epidemiology of foodborne diseases and environmental factors contributing to infectious diseases. LeeAnn Jaykus, PhD LeeAnn Jaykus is a professor of food science for the Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences at North Carolina State University. Her research activities focus on application of molecular biological methods for the detection of pathogenic microorganisms in food, such as the development of technology to detect human enteric viruses like hepatitis A and norovirus in shellfish, fresh produce and ready-to-eat food commodities. Michele Jay-Russell, DVM, MPVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVPM Michele Jay-Russell is Program Manager for the Western Center for Food Safety at the University of California at Davis. Her research interests are in food safety and veterinary public health with an emphasis on the molecular epidemiology of enteric zoonotic foodborne pathogens. Her recent work aims to understand the role of wildlife and domestic animals in the environmental dissemination of Campylobacter and E. coli O157 on dairy and produce farms. Shaun Kennedy Shaun Kennedy is Director of the National Center for Food Protection and Defense (NCFPD) and an Associate Professor in the department of Veterinary Population Medicine at the University of Minnesota. Prior to joining the University of Minnesota, Shaun held executive positions in Procter & Gamble and Ecolab. At Ecolab he was vice president of global food and beverage research and development, leading his organization in developing a wide range of animal health and food safety technologies. Barbara Kowalcyk, PhD Barb Kowalcyk is an assistant research professor in the Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences and at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she is an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Epidemiology in the Gillings School of Public Health. Barb is also co-founder and CEO of the Center for Foodborne Illness Research & Prevention (CFI), a national non-profit organization dedicated to preventing foodborne disease. Richard Linton, PhD Richard Linton is Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at North Carolina State University. Linton’s research interests include modeling the growth and inactivation of foodborne pathogens within different food systems stored under different environmental conditions. His most recent work has focused on studying the heat inactivation and non-thermal inactivation of Listeria, E. coli and Salmonella in fresh produce and ready-to-eat meat products. James Marsden, PhD James Marsden is Regent’s Distinguished Professor of Meat Science and Associate Director of the National Agriculture Biosecurity Center at Kansas State University. His research focus is the safety of meat products, including the control of E. coli O157:H7 in raw ground beef and other processed beef products and Listeria monocytogenes in processed meats. His research has helped develop pasteurization technologies for meat and a number of other food safety interventions that are employed by food companies across the country. Sandra McCurdy, PhD Sandy McCurdy is an Extension Food Safety Specialist and Associate Professor in the School of Family and Consumer Sciences at the University of Idaho. Her outreach and research programs target food safety for consumers and food service workers. She also collaborates with other agencies in Idaho (Food Protection Program, Idaho Beef Council) and with colleagues across the country to develop new programs and research in food safety. David McSwane, PhD David McSwane is Professor and Coordinator of the Environmental Health Sciences concentration in the Department of Public Health at Indiana University. He teaches courses in environmental health, food safety and environmental health policy at the undergraduate and graduate levels. His research targets environmental hazards that cause illness and injury with a specific focus on food safety and defense. Marion Nestle Marion Nestle is Paulette Goddard Professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health and Professor of Sociology at New York University. She is the author of Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health (2002) Safe Food: The Politics of Food Safety (2003), What to Eat (2006), Pet Food Politics: The Chihuahua in the Coal Mine (2008), and co-authored with Malden Nesheim, Feed Your Pet Right (2010) and Why Calories Count: From Science to Politics (2012). Douglas Powell, PhD Doug Powell is a professor of food safety at Kansas State University. His laboratory seeks innovative ways to compel everyone in the farm-to-fork food safety system–individual producers, retail employees and consumers, among others–to acknowledge and adopt best practices to reduce the risk of foodborne illness. He publishes the electronic newsletter bites.ksu.edu, barfblog.com and hosts donteatpoop.com. Donald W. Schaffner, PhD Don Schaffner is Extension Specialist in Food Science and professor at Rutgers University. He also serves as the Director of the Center for Advanced Food Technology. His research interests include quantitative microbial risk assessment and predictive food microbiology. Dr. Schaffner has educated thousands of Food Industry professionals through numerous short courses and workshops in the United States and more than a dozen countries around the world. Trevor Suslow, PhD Trevor Suslow is a cooperative extension specialist in the Department of Vegetable Crops at the University of California at Davis. His research and extension program centers on studying the effects of microflora on the postharvest quality of perishable produce. Dr. Suslow is a member of the Technical Committee for the Center for Produce Safety. ___ See all of 2013’s Best of Food Safety in government, education, consumer organizations, non-government organizations, the food industry and the news media.