Archived News

UC Davis Scientists Join New Food Safety Network

March 23, 2005

University of California, Davis

March 23, 2005

Hoping to reduce the 76 million cases of food poisoning that occur annually in the United States, UC Davis researchers have joined forces with other food safety experts across the nation to establish a scientific network that will conduct research aimed at preventing such illnesses and respond to outbreaks of food poisoning.

The new Food Safety Research and Response Network, which includes 50 researchers from 18 colleges and universities, is led by North Carolina State University and funded by a $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The researchers will study disease-causing microbes such as E. coli, Salmonella and Campylobacter to determine where they occur in the environment, how they are sustained and how they infect livestock herds.

Among the partners in the project is veterinary epidemiologist Ian Gardner, who will receive funding to provide epidemiology support for the network, along with colleagues at Cornell University. The network will provide $40,000 to UC Davis to fund Gardner's work.

"One of our key roles is to assist in the design and analysis of longitudinal studies for these three food safety pathogens through all stages of the production system," Gardner said. "This will be a real team effort because it brings together scientists with a common vision -- the reduction of food-borne illness."

He noted that the initiative complements other food safety research and training programs at UC Davis' School of Veterinary Medicine and Western Institute for Food Safety and Security.

Other network collaborators from UC Davis are parasitologist Patricia Conrad and dairy herd-health expert Bill Sischo, both from the School of Veterinary Medicine, as well as food microbiologist Linda Harris and post-harvest pathologist Trevor Suslow, both from the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. The UC Davis researchers represent the full spectrum of scientific expertise needed to address food-borne diseases, which are caused by microbes that can enter the food chain anywhere from the farm to the kitchen.

The other 17 institutions in the project are UC Berkeley, Cornell University, Iowa State University, McMasters University, Mississippi State University, North Dakota State University, The Ohio State University, Tuskegee University, University of Arizona, University of Florida, University of Illinois, University of Kentucky, University of Minnesota, University of Montreal, Washington State University and West Texas A&M University.

Media contact(s):

* Ian Gardner, School of Veterinary Medicine, (530) 752-6992,
* Pat Bailey, UC Davis News Service, (530) 752-9843,