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For safer food imports, Teach foreign lab workers US requirements
Date:9/6/2011

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Amid ongoing concerns about E. coli, Salmonella and other food-borne illnesses, a new facility will take a unique approach to make imports bound for the United States safer: Give foreign technicians who test those foods intensive, hands-on lab training in U.S. government methods, standards and technology, as well as acceptable alternatives.

"The more we can get foreign food facilities to harmonize their procedures and their work with U.S. requirements, the greater the likelihood of safe imported foods reaching American consumers," says the University of Maryland's Janie Dubois, who directs the new International Food Safety Training Laboratory <http://jifsan.umd.edu/ifstl/index.php> (IFSTL). "The FDA can only inspect a tiny fraction of all imports, so food should enter the country safe, well-tested and up to our standards."

Based at the University of Maryland's Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (JIFSAN), the new lab will marry federal and university expertise with the support of the Waters Corporation - a leading manufacturer of high-tech laboratory testing equipment.

In keeping with the new U.S. Food Safety Modernization Act's emphasis on prevention, the initiative aims to improve the safety of food imports before they reach the U.S. border.

Foreign food laboratory workers will learn U.S-recommended microbiological and chemical analysis methods directly from regulators at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Department of Agriculture, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and other federal agencies. Also, the training will give students a chance to discuss acceptable, alternate analytical methods that regulators call "fit-for-purpose."

"This approach will give students unparalleled insight into the way federal regulators operate, and, critically, how best to apply their techniques to conditions back home," Dubois sa
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Contact: Neil Tickner
ntickner@umd.edu
301-405-4622
University of Maryland
Source:Eurekalert  

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