On August 31, 2012 the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) designated Minnesota as an Integrated Food Safety Centers of Excellence (CoEs) to help fulfill its role in the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

Find out more about FSMA and the designation of the CoEs:  CDC and the Food Safety Modernization Act

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the University of Minnesota School of Public Health (UMN SPH) have partnered together to create the Minnesota Integrated Food Safety Center of Excellence. We are committed to improving training, research, continuing education, and outreach related to food safety and the prevention of foodborne illness. In particular, we will work to identify and implement best practices in foodborne illness surveillance and outbreak investigation, and will serve as a resource for local, state, and federal public health professionals who respond to foodborne illness outbreaks.

With CDC’s support, we aim to:

  • Provide technical help and training in epidemiological, laboratory, and environmental investigations of foodborne illness outbreaks.
  • Decrease the burden of foodborne illness using improved techniques in detection, investigation, control, and reporting.
  • Use information gathered during outbreak investigations to prevent future illnesses and outbreaks.
  • Develop and share best practices through six main activity areas:
    • Collaborate with public health professionals to strengthen foodborne illness surveillance and outbreak investigations.
    • Analyze the timeliness and effectiveness of foodborne illness surveillance and outbreak response activities.
    • Train state and local public health staff in epidemiological and environmental investigation of foodborne illness, including timeliness, coordination, and standardization of the investigation process.
    • Establish fellowships, stipends, and scholarships to educate future epidemiology and food safety leaders in foodborne disease surveillance and outbreak investigation and to address critical workforce shortages.
    • Strengthen capacity to participate in foodborne illness surveillance and environmental assessment information systems.
    • Conduct food safety program evaluations and outreach activities focused on increasing prevention, communication, and education.

The Director of the Minnesota CoE is Dr. Kirk Smith, Supervisor of the Foodborne, Vectorborne, and Zoonotic Diseases Unit at MDH. Dr. Craig Hedberg, Professor of Environmental Health in the UMN SPH, is the Co-director. Carlota Medus, Epidemiologist Supervisor Senior at MDH, is the Director of Outreach and Training. Josh Rounds, Epidemiologist Senior at MDH, is the Minnesota CoE coordinator.

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