New AgriLife food safety initiative announced

Acuff to serve as center director

By: Blair Fannin, 979-845-2259
Contact(s): Dr. Mark Hussey, 979-845-4747, mhussey@tamu.edu

COLLEGE STATION – A new food safety initiative by Texas A&M AgriLife will address several key areas involving research, education and teaching.

“Our initial goal will be to enhance the visibility of our excellent food safety faculty and programs,” said Dr. Mark Hussey, vice chancellor and dean for agriculture and life sciences at Texas A&M University. “This increased emphasis will assess and prioritize our current programs, ultimately leveraging our existing strengths and interests to achieve greater impact nationally and beyond in food safety research, prevention and education.”

Core areas that will be addressed include prevention, intervention, economic analysis, policy and risk, training and communication, Hussey said.

The initiative follows work being done at the national level with the recent creation of the federal Food Safety Working Group, support from industry partners and heightened interest in food production and handling, Hussey said.

“With a growing worldwide population, food production must increase to meet these new demands,” Hussey said. “We must continue to look at how we guard against foodborne illness and other potential new threats through dedicated research programs.”

Dr. Gary Acuff has been appointed director for the Center for Food Safety, based at Texas A&M University in College Station, to lead the expanded food safety efforts.

“We have numerous scientists with excellent research programs in food safety but who also contribute to undergraduate and graduate courses in various areas of this discipline,” Acuff said. “We are already on the map with work being done in food safety, and with this new emphasis we have the potential for greater growth and new discoveries.”

Acuff served as department head of animal science since 2005. Prior to that administrative role, he taught undergraduate and graduate courses and labs in food microbiology, and conducted research on food quality and safety.

Acuff currently is chairman of a 10-member committee for the National Research Council, which evaluates food safety requirements for the Federal Purchase Ground Beef Program.

Dr. Russell Cross will serve as interim department head for animal science at Texas A&M. He has held a number of administrative roles in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, including deputy vice chancellor and associate dean.

For more information about Texas A&M AgriLife, visit http://agrilife.tamu.edu/about/.

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via AgriLife News.

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