Supermarket Perimeter - January 2021 - 55

and the longevity of infectious virus that is
present during and after meat processing and
packaging activities. The team seeks to identify,
develop, validate and deliver practical cleaning
and disinfection strategies, plus develop
mathematical models to predict and reduce
the risk of SARS-CoV-2 exposure in meat and
poultry processing facilities.
Joining Davis on the research team are food
safety faculty from K-State's Food Science
Institute, including Randall Phebus, co-project
director and professor of animal sciences and
industry, and Jeanette Thurston, director of the
Food Science Institute and co-investigator on
the project. The project also will rely on input
from an industry advisory board.
" Our advisory board will be regularly updated
on research progress, " Thurston said. " We
will communicate with them in real time to
make sure we are on the right track with our
research and recommendations, and ensure
that our findings are rapidly deployed across the
processing sector. "
The industry advisory board is composed
of senior-level directors of food safety and
plant operations at Hormel Foods, Smithfield
Foods, National Beef Packing Company, Cargill
Protein North America, JBS USA, Wayne Farms,
Jennie-O Turkey Store, Tyson Fresh Meats and
Costco Wholesale.
Bonnie Rush, dean of K-State's College of
Veterinary Medicine, said K-State, known as the
" Silicon Valley of biodefense, " is the ideal place
to conduct this vital research.
" This is an advantageous collaboration
between the College of Veterinary Medicine and
College of Agriculture, " Rush said. " It combines
our expertise in the study of viruses, our highcontainment research facility in the BRI and our
national experts in food safety. "
Ernie Minton, dean of the College of
Agriculture and director of K-State Research and
Extension, said COVID-19 has hit the agricultural
industry and its workers hard.
" We certainly felt the impact when COVID-19
hit our meat processing plants in Kansas and
across the nation this spring, " Minton said. " In
April, nearly 5,000 workers in U.S. processing
plants became infected, causing plant closures,
a backlog of animals waiting to go to market,
higher feed costs, lower market prices, and a
scarcity of meat and poultry in some areas. It's
a tremendous privilege to receive USDA support
and work with a team of top academic and

Food safety top
of mind for US,
other consumers
According to a new study from
the Beijing-based Mars
Global Food Safety Center
that surveyed more than
1,750 people in the US, UK
and China, more than half
of respondents (52%) feel
that food safety is a top three
global issue - and 77% think
it's a top 10 global issue. 
Food insecurity has only been
exacerbated by COVID-19,
and 73% of respondents
believe the novel coronavirus
will impact the viability
of the global supply chain
and 71% believe it will have
impact on global access to
food.  These consumers think
about food safety and security
as much as climate change
(39%) and pollution (38%).
" New food safety threats,
like those posed by
COVID-19, are constantly
emerging through a
combination of factors
including global warming,
increased globalization of
trade, as well as changes in
agriculture practices and food
production, " said David Crean,
Mars' chief science officer and
vice president of corporate
R&D. " We believe everyone
has a right to safe food and
it's also our responsibility to
share our knowledge - 82% of
survey respondents expressed
their desire to learn more -
expertise and tools to enable
safe food for all. "

supermarketperimeter.com

industry leaders to find solutions to help us
avoid this type of problem in the future. "
Collaborating with the K-State team are
co-project directors from the University of
Georgia poultry science department, Harsha
Thippareddi and Manpreet Singh, who will
provide extensive poultry experience and
industry connections and lead the grant's
industry outreach efforts. Valentina Trinetta
and Sara Gragg, food safety faculty from
the Food Science Institute, are co-project
directors.
Co-investigator Anke Richter, a public
health-focused operation research specialist
at the Naval Postgraduate School, will lead
the risk assessment driven by mathematical
modeling. Co-investigators Yunjeong Kim
and Erin Schirtzinger in the K-State College
of Veterinary Medicine and the Food
Science Institute's Daniel Vega round out the
project team.
Mars established the Global Food Safety
Center in 2015 to tackle the most significant
food safety challenges facing the planet today.
Specifically, the GFSC has set ambitious targets
in three critical areas of food safety:
x Mycotoxin risk management: developing
novel partnerships and breakthrough
management strategies to tackle mycotoxin
head on; starting with aflatoxins - because
of the serious health threat they pose,
particularly in the developing world.
x Microbial risk management: driving research
and collaboration to move toward faster
detection, identification and, ultimately, a
predictive approach.
x Food integrity: developing tools and
capabilities to mitigate food integrity
challenges across the food industry and the
global food supply chain.
Mars said the center's three focus areas
align with several concerns identified in
the September survey, including 60% of
respondents who expressed concern about
keeping food safety from toxins and 58% who
said they are concerned about preventing
food fraud.
Survey respondents also expressed the
importance for government and private
organizations like the GFSC to continue to
focus on preventing food safety issues (85%),
to invest in early detection programs (84%)
and to manage global food safety (80%),
Mars said.
JANUARY 2021 - 55


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