Education Key to Food Safety in 21st Century
Chris Brunner, October 31, 2014
At the One Health Food Safety Symposium held October 23 -24, in Nanjing, China, academia and government discussed the importance of a global education system to address the challenges of food safety in the 21st century.
The two day symposium, co-sponsored by the University of California, Davis, and Nanjing Agricultural University, (NAU), was associated with the million dollar planning and implementation project between the two universities for the establishment of a One Health Center focused on food safety at NAU.
Dean Michael Lairmore, School of Veterinary Medicine, led the delegation from UC Davis including Rob Atwill, Bennie Osburn, Xunde Li, Cheryl Scott, and Heather Johnson from the Western Institute for Food Safety and Security, (WIFSS), Jim Cullor, director of the Dairy Food Safety Laboratory, and Huaijun Zhou from the department of Animal Science.
The symposium focused on food safety related subjects. Faculty presentations from both universities were given on the first day of the symposium. A session focusing on teaching approaches from both universities followed the second day. Topics addressed by UC Davis presenters included an overview of the vision for the Center by Dr. Bennie Osburn, the genetics in poultry associated with food safety by Dr. Huaijun Zhou, pre-harvest dairy food safety by Dr. Jim Cullor, produce and water quality affecting food safety by Dr. Rob Atwill, and diagnostic approaches for produce and water borne pathogenic agents by Dr. Xunde Li.
Heather Johnson, Dr. Cheryl Scott and Dr. Cullor discussed adult learning and blended learning concepts, integration of One Health approaches to managing foodborne illnesses and the use of pre-harvest best practices for on-farm practices to assure quality assurance of dairy products leaving the farm.
One of the highlights of the trip was the interest of expanding the breadth of the One Health Center beyond Nanjing Agricultural University to include four Provincial supported universities as part of the Center. The Vice-Governor of Jiangsu Province is highly supportive of the concept of a One Health Center and its affiliation with WIFSS, the School of Veterinary Medicine and the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
Future activities being planned include hosting a group of 20 NAU students for a three week visit to the UC Davis campus, providing funding for six to eight masters students annually and two to four PhD students for up to three years. As part of the project proposal, a select group of NAU faculty will be invited to spend three to six months at UC Davis for educational exchanges as they partner with faculty and staff by familiarizing themselves with blended learning, the approaches used for diagnostic and assessments of food safety related inspections and outbreaks, and application of best practices for the different agricultural systems from farm to table.