Microbiology Symposium

University of Wisconsin - River Falls

Oct. 4, 1996

Food Poisoning Sleuthing Seminar Set

Current issues in food safety and techniques to determine the cause of food poisoning outbreaks will be the topic of a three-day International Microbiology Symposium at UW-River Falls.

The symposium will be held Oct. 16-18 in the Hagestad Student Center at UW-River Falls, and coordinated by food science Professor P.C. Vasavada. who is a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology.

The program is oriented toward food scientists and technologists; quality assurance supervisors, managers and technicians; food laboratory directors, managers and technicians; microbiologists and chemists involved in food quality assurance; regulatory agencies personnel and advisors; consultants and researchers involved in food safety and quality; and graduate and undergraduate students interested in food microbiology.

This year the symposium also will be the site of a National Media Fellowship for media seeking to learn more about food safety issues. The Fellowship was awarded by the Washington, D.C.,-based Council for the Advancement and Support of Education.

UW-RF is one of 30 universities selected for a Fellowship program by a national panel of journalists and higher education public information officers.

The panel chose the symposium because of the impact of food poisoning outbreaks. Vasavada noted that the U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that 33 million Americans become ill each year, with some 9,000 deaths. The cumulative national economic impact can reach as high as $9.4 billion annually.

In addition to participating in the symposium, the Fellows will participate in a special workshop that outlines food processing and safety techniques.

The symposium's technical program consists of lectures and discussions relevant to foodborne pathogens, toxins, safety, quality and shelf-life of foods by speakers from academia, industry and regulatory agencies. It also includes presentations by representatives of various companies involved in developing and marketing rapid and automated methods for microbiological analysis of food, water and the environment.

The conference provides a basic understanding of the strategies and approaches available for the detection, enumeration, isolation and characterization of the microorganisms and toxins of interest in food microbiology and emphasizes the practical application of the information to the solution of problems dealing with microbiological safety and quality of food.

A Rapid Methods and Automation workshop will provide an opportunity to discuss conventional and rapid methods available for detection of pathogens such as Salmonella, Listeria, E.coli 0157:H7, Aflatoxin and other mycotoxins as well as for routine microbiological analysis of samples.

For more information, contact Vasavada at 715/425-3150.

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