Ohio State food safety center to research food safety in Kenya

The Center for Foodborne Illness Research and Prevention (CFI) at The Ohio State University has been awarded $770,000 to improve food safety and prevent foodborne illnesses in Kenya.

The project, “Chakula salama: a risk-based approach to reducing foodborne diseases and increasing production of safe foods in Kenya,” includes researchers from Ohio State University, the University of Florida, Kenya Medical Research Institute, and the University of Nairobi. They will work to develop and test food-safety interventions to support Kenya’s small-scale poultry producers.

According to Barbara Kowalcyk, director of CFI, the project will use a systems-based approach to answer important food safety questions and build an environment that fosters the implementation of risk-based approaches to food safety in Kenya. She adds that it will then hopefully be implemented in other African countries.

According to the World Health Organization,  foodborne hazards  are responsible for 137,000 deaths and 91 million acute illnesses in Africa every year, mostly affecting children younger than the age of 5. 

“Poultry is an important dietary component for households and a source of revenue for women and youth in Kenya, but is often produced and processed in informal settings that rarely include mitigation strategies, making it a high-risk product from a food-safety perspective,” Kowalcyk said.

Because in Kenya, women and children are the main producers and handlers of poultry, the project will specifically focus on reducing the risk of illnesses from Salmonella and Campylobacter in poultry produced by small-scale women and youth poultry farmers. Researchers on the team say that poultry and other meats have a high probability of pathogen contamination. 

This initiative is one of four new research projects announced by the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Safety, which is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development as part of Feed the Future, the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative.

About the Center for Foodborne Illness 

The CFI is a national non-profit organization working to drive the development and implementation of innovative, science-based solutions for food safety challenges.

Founded as a nonprofit organization in 2006, CFI brought its 14-year record of protecting public health to CFAES in September 2019. The center, which is now housed within CFAES, has a mission to advance a more scientific, risk-based food safety system that prevents foodborne illnesses and protects public health by translating science into policy and practice.

To learn more about CFI, visit their website.

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