OSU Extension microbiologist leads regional food-safety effort

Article photo
Food scientist Mark Daeschel tests the acidity of assorted food products in his OSU lab. Photo by Lynn Ketchum

Every year in the United States, 48 million people get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die from foodborne diseases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) shifted the focus from crisis management to crisis prevention--highlighting an urgent need to train food producers to comply with new preventive controls and regulations.

OSU’s Mark Daeschel has been part of this nationwide effort to update the safety training available to large-scale farmers and food producers. Daeschel and the University of Idaho’s Jeff Kronenberg completed extensive train-the-trainer education with the Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance (FSPCA). The two then become the first certified trainers in the Pacific Northwest.

Since 2016, the FSMA training sessions have regularly sold out. As of March 2017, 413 people in the Western region, including 188 Oregonians, have completed the training. As new food companies form, their employees also need to be brought into compliance. Daeschel communicates training opportunities through the OSU Food Science & Technology departmental website, the FSPCA website, and the Oregon Department of Agriculture.

“There will always be a demand for this training,” Daeschel says. “Everyone can get behind food safety, especially if they’ve experienced foodborne illness.”

Sources: Mark Daeschel, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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