College of Science and Engineering

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SCSU is host of conference with national experts on food safety

Monday, October 8, 2012

St. Cloud State University is hosting its first Food Microbiology Symposium Oct. 15-17.The two-day event will feature national experts on food safety and how to adopt new federal guidelines aimed at preventing foodborne illnesses and upgrading standards of imports. More than 60 participants are expected to participate.


“They are actually critical,” said Kristin Pederson Gulrud, an associate professor in St. Cloud State’s biological sciences department and one of the event’s organizers. “Everyone worries about food safety.”

 
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 6 Americans suffer from a foodborne illnesses every year. Of the 48 million who are affected, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die.


Ten food recalls have been issued since Oct. 1. They include peanut butter products, dog treats, chicken spring rolls, cheese, popcorn and soup.


The conference is for anyone involved in the food industry, Gulrud said. And the need to educate about what can be done to prevent such outbreaks is essential.


“We’re talking about life and death,” said Elly Wilson, associate marketing manager of Microbiologics, which is a sponsor. The company helps industries, including food, with quality control and safety. “Each of these play a key role in keeping our food safe. Most of us don’t grow our own foods. We have to rely on what’s at the grocery store.”


St. Cloud State picked up the conference from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. The event’s organizer retired after hosting it for 30 years.


Symposium participants are coming from many of the main food corporations — Hormel, General Mills and Gold’n Plump.


Part of the symposium will focus on the federal Food Safety Modernization Act.


That law takes more preventative measures for foodborne illnesses and requires food imports to have the same safety levels as domestic products.


Microbiologics helped secure some of the speakers.


Key speakers include Dr. David Acheson, a national expert on food safety, and Dr. Arthur Liang, the associate director of foodborne diseases and director of the food safety office at the CDC.

Conference website


By Gail Bowen, St. Cloud Times, Oct. 7, 2012

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