Campus News

Public lecture to focus on food safety threats at home and from abroad

Although the food supply in the U.S. is one of the safest in the world, illnesses from contaminated foods, such as bagged spinach and peanut butter, have been making newspaper headlines recently. Reports increasingly reveal that tainted foods and food ingredients are the products of China, Belgium, Peru and other countries. So how safe is the food we eat? Can we protect ourselves from unsafe imported foods and products?

UGA’s College of Public Health and Biomedical and Health Sciences Institute will address some of these issues with a public lecture on food safety. The lecture will be held at 7 p.m. Jan. 29 in Masters Hall at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education.

Entitled “Is Your Food Safe to Eat?,” the lecture is part of a new series featuring Georgia experts and aimed at increasing community knowledge and awareness about the public health issues in the media and at home. The program, which originated in the BHSI, now partners with the CPH’s outreach and engagement activities, run by Robert Galen, associate dean and professor of epidemiology.

The featured speaker will be Michael Doyle, Regents Professor of food microbiology and director of UGA’s Center for Food Safety. He is one of the country’s leading authorities on E. coli bacteria, and his research focuses on developing methods to detect and control foodborne bacterial pathogens at all levels of the food continuum, from the farm to the table. Doyle’s talk will be followed with a presentation on the restaurant inspection process and other food safety issues relevant to the Athens community. It will be led by Claude Burnett, director of the Georgia Division of Health Northeast Heath District and a CPH adjunct professor.

“One of our major goals is to improve the health of Georgians, and providing useful information about health risks to the community is one way to do this,” said Galen.