Florida forms new food safety center of excellence

The Florida Department of Health in partnership with the University of Florida has received a $250,000 grant to establish an integrated food safety center of excellence.

The Food Safety Center of Excellence will be one of five national centers working to help public health agencies sharpen their response in the event of a foodborne illness outbreak. The centers were legislated by Congress with the signing of the Food and Drug Administration Food Safety Modernization Act in 2011.

UF’s College of Public Health and Health Professions will be offering a new graduate certificate specializing in food safety epidemiology in support of the Center of Excellence training and education goals. The program will include 15 credit hours of coursework, which can be applied to the Master of Public Health degree. Researchers from UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences will work with staff from the UF Emerging Pathogens Institute to create the curriculum.

“This is a chance for us to do what we do best,” said Douglas Archer, associate dean for research at IFAS. “We have decades of experience in foodborne pathogen research and a long history of reaching out to the public through the cooperative extension system.”

“Choosing Florida as a site for one of the five national centers establishes UF as one of the top food safety research institutions in the country,” said Glenn Morris, director of the Emerging Pathogens Institute at UF.

Reprinted from UF Explore research magazine