Food Safety Counsel

Food Safety Training Lab

The International Food Safety Training Lab (IFSTL) has experienced excellent results after only one year of operations. The lab is designed to train scientists globally in top food testing methods.

IFSTL has also opened up its doors to trade policymakers and other industry professionals. The overall goal is to improve food safety quality on a global scale. Advocates feel that, by helping foreign suppliers better understand efforts in the US to control potential food contamination, foreign exporters can better understand how to comply with the related US requirements. In addition, policymakers can learn more information about food safety practices to make better informed policy and trade decisions.

The lab is operated by the University of Maryland along with the FDA. Both FDA scientists and guest lecturers from the industry help run the lab. The director of IFSTL, Jane Dubois explains that students get a “one-on-one interaction with FDA, USDA and EPA specialists.” Dubois also adds that, “by learning to use internationally recognized testing methods students are able to verify whether a product meets a country’s standards, even if those standards vary country-to-country, because the method [being used] is universal.”

Currently the program is working on E. coli related research, including a more detailed look into the “Big Six.” In November, the lab is planning on conducting a course on microscopic identification of ingredients that will allow students to determine whether or not an ingredient is truly what it purports to be on the product label. A second lab is set to open in England in 2013.

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