Food Safety and Risk During COVID-19

Food Safety and Risk During COVID-19

Webinar recording from MSU professors covers food safety and food security related to the current coronavirus pandemic.

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April 29, 2020

The Society of Risk Analysis (SRA) has launched COVID Conversations on Risk, a series of podcasts and webinars featuring various aspects of risk analysis.  The series is hosted by SRA President, Seth Guikema, Ph.D., University of Michigan.

The second episode aired on April 23, 2020, featuring Jade Mitchell, Ph.D., and Felicia Wu, Ph.D. both from Michigan State University, addressing food safety and risk.  A recording of the webinar is available at https://sra.org/covid-19-resources 

Mitchell covers food safety as it pertains to the current coronavirus pandemic, including: How SARS-CoV-2 is believed to spread in the environment, risks or lack thereof in grocery stores, risks or lack thereof in takeout or delivery food, the roles of heat and freezing and decontamination practices, the importance of considering viral load, and statistical models that can help in quantitative microbial risk assessment. 

Wu addresses food security as it pertains specifically to the US in the current pandemic. This includes how farmers, restaurants, and other stakeholders in the food supply chain have suffered economically as a result of the pandemic; food worker risks, including local deaths of grocery store workers in Michigan and nation-wide deaths in food processing plants; how Americans have changed consumption patterns in the last month; and what this implies about how we should change policies not just during the current pandemic, but in the future.

Jade Mitchell, Ph.D., is an associate professor at Michigan State University. Her expertise is in microbial risk modeling and using QMRA for risk-based decision making about intervention and prevention strategies including food safety, water quality, sanitation, and product development for household and hospital hygiene.

Felicia Wu, Ph.D., is a professor at Michigan State University. Her research and teaching focus on the national and global burden of environmental and foodborne disease; how regulations affect global trades and influence chemical exposures; the influence of in utero chemical exposures, nutrition and socioeconomics on infant health; and the cost effectiveness of strategies to improve food safety along supply chains in the U.S. and worldwide. Wu serves as an expert advisor to the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives of the United Nations and in 2020 she received the MSU William J. Beal Outstanding Faculty Award.