Food Safety and Nutrition
The second of two web seminars on the topic of Food
Safety and Nutrition was held on Thursday, January 18, 2007, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00
p.m. Eastern time. The presenter was Sherri McGarry, Foodborne Outbreak Coordinator
on the Emergency Coordination and Response Staff in the Office of Compliance, Center
for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The presentation focused on the work of scientists at the FDA as it relates to outbreak
Forty-one (41) participants were present in addition to the presenter and the NSTA
staff. Participating educators represented the states of Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut,
Delaware, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, North Carolina,
Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
In this presentation educators had the opportunity to learn about outbreak investigations.
The Center for Disease Control estimates that in 1999 there were 76 million foodborne
illnesses in the United States. This number shows that foodborne illnesses area
a serious problem in our country. The most common causes of foodborne outbreaks
are ill workers who do not follow proper personal hygiene requirements.
fighting foodborne outbreaks follow investigative procedures analogous to solving
a crime. Once the foodborne outbreak is identified, the food scientists do epidemiological
investigations, laboratory analysis, environmental investigations, trace backs and
trace forwards, and farm investigations. Their goal is to find the source of the
outbreak and remove the product from distribution as quickly as possible to avoid
At the end of the presentation Ms. McGarry presented a number of hypothetical outbreak
cases for the audience member to solve. Participants used their web seminar tools
to write ideas on how to prevent the outbreak from happening and on how to solve
it. All participants received a copy of NSTA's SciGuide on Organisms, grades 5-8.
Here are some comments provided by the participants at the end of the Web Seminar:
"My state has new frameworks for science. My grade level is covering food preservation
and the relationship of microbes in food."
"Good, current information about a topic that is in the news and relevant to middle
school kids. E-coli is very misunderstood."
"Content was relevant in its applicability to high school biology instruction. It
offers teachers an opportunity to demonstrate and integrate investigational methods,
scientific inquiry, use of technology and research in one seamless web."
"I am currently talking to the students about bacteria and viruses and outbreak
related questions come up often. This lesson will help me be able to field those
questions with more knowledge."
Thanks to the participants and the presenter for the learning opportunity, the interactions,
and a job well done!
Web Seminar II Resources
See a recorded version of the Web Seminar.
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Underwritten in part by FDA