Food Safety

Co-Leaders

Dr. Cheryl Waldner (WCVM) & Dr. Volker Gerdts (VIDO)

Theme goal

To improve food safety in Canada through research on enteric disease, increasing understanding of risks and control of foodborne disease from the farm to fork, and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in the foodchain. 

Projects to date

  • Identification of carbapenem-resistant organisms by Dr. Joseph Rubin in imported seafood.
  • MSc student in epidemiology completed a project in collaboration with the Public Health Agency of Canada & Canadian Regulatory Veterinary Epidemiology Network  examining microbial levels in Saskatchewan ground beef from different packaging and processing environments
  • PhD student in public policy using agent-based models examining the potential for consumers to use mobile technology and act as sentinels of foodborne disease associated with eating in restaurants
  • PhD student in epidemiology (co-supervised by Jo Anne Dillon) is looking at factors associated with antimicrobial resistance in gonorrhea infections (in progress)

Projects under development

  • Application of dynamic modeling and risk assessment methodologies to expand the application of AMR surveillance data in decision making in collaboration with PHAC Canadian Integrated Program for Antimicrobial Resistance (CIPARS) group
  • Antimicrobial use data from cow-calf herds in Western Canada in collaboration with the Beef Cattle Research Council and PHAC
  • Investigation of iEpi smartphone app for reporting and investigating enteric disease and recall bias in foodborne disease outbreaks
  • CFI application from College of Agriculture and Bioresources that includes one objective which focusses on the reduction of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria in cattle by integrating antimicrobial stewardship, infectious disease control and receiving protocols

 Other progress in the area of food safety

  • Enhanced laboratory capacity for AMR research at the WCVM: Dr. Joe Rubin
  • Student practicum experience with PHAC outbreak management group through the ITrap program
  • Substantial enhancement of food safety curriculum in PBL ITrap class, Infectious Disease Epidemiology, and Environmental Health courses in the SPH
  • Visit by Dr. Nigel French – attention to growing interest in application of bioinformatics, molecular/genomic epi, network analysis and spatial epi to food safety issues