A mother of a food poisoning victim and the chief of the CDC’s Enteric Diseases Epidemiology Branch have joined the board of Stop Foodborne Illness, a nonprofit public health organization that assists victims and works to raise awareness about food safety issues.

The two new board members are Amanda Craten and Dr. Patricia Griffin, according to an announcement released Tuesday.

Craten is a mother, an educator, and a food safety advocate from Arizona. She experienced the impact of foodborne illness directly when the youngest of her three children, Noah, was a victim of the Foster Farms Salmonella outbreak in 2013. Her family has been fighting to make change in the food industry ever since. They were the first to take a poultry producer through civil trial and win.

“I am thrilled to help guide this increasingly visible and influential organization,” said Craten. “Food safety has made huge strides in recent years but there is still much work to be done. I want to encourage families who have survived foodborne illness to become architects of change. Stop Foodborne Illness is committed to that principle and hopefully, through our work, more and more families will join the fight to make food safe for everyone.”

Craten is a special education assistant for resources at Desert Palms Elementary School and is working toward her bachelor’s degree in special education and elementary education at Northern Arizona University.

“Amanda brings the critical knowledge that only comes from personal experience as well as such  enthusiasm for our mission to educate, influence policy, and collaborate with key stakeholders to make food safer,” said Lauren Bush, board co-chair of Stop Foodborne Illness. “We are so pleased to have her with us. She is a strong advocate for all families and her voice will be invaluable as we encourage everyone to become more engaged in this work with us.”

Griffin is chief of the Enteric Diseases Epidemiology Branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The branch conducts surveillance for cases of illness and for outbreaks; does studies of human illness due to bacterial agents such as Salmonella and E. coli O157; tracks trends in these illnesses; and analyzes data on the relationship of illnesses to particular foods. Griffin has supervised epidemiologic investigations throughout the United States and overseas. She has authored or co-authored more than 235 journal articles, book chapters, and other publications.

“Dr. Griffin is one of our nation’s most outstanding and credible food safety leaders,” said Michael Taylor, Stop Foodborne Illness board co-chair and former FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine. “Her foodborne illness expertise will help guide our organization as we work to build our partnerships with all those in the public and private sectors who share our commitment to preventing foodborne illness.”

Griffin holds an adjunct appointment in the Emory University Rollins School of Public Health. She earned her medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, trained in internal medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, trained in gastroenterology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, in mucosal immunology at the University of Pennsylvania, and in epidemiology with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS). She is board certified in internal medicine gastroenterology, is a Fellow of the Infectious Disease Society of America and a member of the American Epidemiological Society.

“Helping all parties understand the major sources of and trends in foodborne illness is one way that Stop Foodborne Illness can help foster informed decisions by industry and government on policies and strategies that result in safer food,” said Griffin.

Stop Foodborne Illness
Stop Foodborne Illness is dedicated to preventing illness and death from foodborne pathogens by promoting sound food safety policy and best practices, building public awareness and assisting those impacted by foodborne illness. For more food safety tips please visit www.stopfoodborneillness.org/awareness/. If you think you have been sickened from food, check this out and contact your local health professional.

For questions and personal assistance, please contact Stop Foodborne Illness’ Community Coordinator Stanley Rutledge at srutledge@stopfoodborneillness.org or 773-269-6555 Ext. 7.

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