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Issue 13          

Jan/Feb/Mar 2013  



Welcome to the 13th issue of the IFSH INSIGHT newsletter. It's been a long but incredibly busy winter here at IFSH and we are anxious to share the progress we have made on existing efforts and introduce you to some new ones.


Much of IFSH's activities have focused on the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), and especially the proposed rules for Produce Safety and Preventive Controls for Human Food. This includes not only moving forward on the activities of the Sprout Safety and Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliances, but also assisting FDA in getting the word out by hosting two webinars.


IFSH staff has also been organizing and contributing to various meetings, including a very successful IFSH Mid-Year Meeting, which was again held this past March at the Burr Ridge Conference Center. Many of the topics addressed at the meeting focused on FSMA issues but the key value to attendees was the opportunity for FDA, IIT and industry scientists to interact and discuss practical aspects about food safety and nutrition in an open forum. Our next major event, scheduled for September 17 and 18, is our Annual Meeting where we will celebrate the 25th anniversary of IFSH. Put this on your calendar. If you have never attended the Mid-Year or Annual meetings, you have missed a lot.


The Summer months are always a busy time with scientific meetings and vacations, but this summer will be especially so for IFSH staff and faculty as we launch some exciting new initiatives that will expand both the scope of our activities and value to members. Stay tuned for announcements in upcoming months as we finalize these initiatives


Have a great and safe summer.


Robert E. Brackett, PhD
IIT Vice President and IFSH Director




IFSH Mid-Year Member Meeting    


IFSH held its Mid-Year Member Meeting on March 26-27, 2013 at the Burr Ridge Conference Center in Burr Ridge, IL. There were over 190 registrants comprised of FDA and IIT scientists, and food industry professionals, with 52 industry companies represented at the meeting. The meeting covered a number of timely topics related to the new FDA proposed rules for Produce Safety and Preventive Controls for Human Food. Featured FDA speakers in program order were: Mike Landa, J.D., David White, Ph.D., Bill Wessinger, Ph. D., and Palmer Orlandi, Ph.D.


For IFSH members, you can now download presentations given at the 2013 Mid-Year Meeting from the Member section of the IFSH website. The presentations are posted for download in PDF format.


If you have forgotten your IFSH Member User ID and/or password to the Member section of the website, please contact LaShondra Stephens at for assistance.

IFSH at IFT Wellness 13 Conference
The IFSH Center for Nutrition Research (CNR) participated on several fronts in the Annual IFT Wellness Conference held at the Intercontinental Chicago O'Hare on February 27-28, 2013. IFSH gave two presentations and hosted an exhibit table. The first presentation was given by Dr. Britt Burton Freeman, CNR Director, on February 27th in the Healthier Living session, "The Greatest Wealth is Microbes? The Critical Role of Microbiota in Healthy Aging". This was followed on the second day with a presentation given by Jack Cappozzo, Director of Chemistry on IFSH capabilities in the Suppliers Solutions session. The IFSH exhibit table organized by Armand Paradis, Director Business Development received good attendee traffic during the Suppliers Showcase on February 27.
FDA's Proposed Regulations for Sprout Production Webinar
IFSH, in cooperation with the Sprout Safety Alliance, hosted a FDA webinar on March 20, 2013 detailing the proposed rule on Produce Safety within the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The webinar was the first hosting a speaker from the FDA to discuss, in detail, the specific requirements for sprouts that are covered within the proposed Produce Safety rule. Dr. Samir Assar and Ms. Joy Johanson from FDA-CFSAN spoke about the proposed rule, while Dr. Stephen Grove from IIT-IFSH discussed the work that is underway by the Sprout Safety Alliance, to assist sprout producers in complying with the proposed rule.

FDA's Proposed Regulations on Preventive Controls Webinar
IFSH hosted a FDA webinar on April 8, 2013 featuring an overview of the proposed rule on Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption as well as those portions of the proposed rule on Preventive Controls that impact the produce industry. Topics discussed by Dr. Samir Assar and Ms. Jenny Scott included FSMA requirements for covered facilities, and establishment and implementation of food safety plans that are based on hazard analysis and risk-based preventive controls. Dr. Robert Brackett, Project Director of the Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance (FSPCA), discussed the efforts currently being undertaken to establish a standardized training curriculum purposely designed for training food industry personnel to be compliant with the FSMA regulations.


IFSH Welcomes New Industry Members

IFSH gained five new members; Abbott Nutrition, BASF Corporation, 

Cougar Packaging Concepts, Dairy Research Institute (DRI) and the Ruprecht Company.


Abbott Nutrition produces a range of specialty nutrition products for both pediatric and senior care.


BASF Corporation produces a broad range of specialty food ingredients and has joined IFSH with a view to collaborating in both food safety and nutrition programs.


Cougar Packaging Concepts offers all-in-one solutions to fresh food packaging from thermoformed trays and lidding films to a line of revolutionary shelf life extension equipment. 


DRI, an affiliate of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, is a non-profit organization created to strengthen the dairy industry's access to, and investment in, the technical research required to drive innovation and demand for dairy products and ingredients.


The Ruprecht Company is a privately-held meat processor and food manufacturer serving both domestic and international customers in the foodservice and retail sectors.

IFSH membership in this period is now at 63 members with a range of food processors, industry associations, and industry suppliers providing processing equipment, analytical instrumentation and microbial diagnostic tools.


2012 Annual Review of Research (ARR)

  2012 ARR Cover

IFSH members can now download a digital copy of the 2012 Annual Review of Research report from the Member section of the IFSH website. The most current edition (2012), as well as an archive of available ARR reports from 1999-2011, are posted for download in PDF format.

The Annual Review of Research (ARR) contains pre-publication reports detailing the collaborative research conducted at IFSH during each fiscal year, October - September. This document, available exclusively to IFSH members, FDA and other stakeholder partners and personnel, includes project updates and results of  IFSH's National Center for Food Safety and Technology research completed or underway in five IFSH Science Focus Areas: Processing and Packaging, Food Microbiology, Food Chemistry, Proficiency Testing and Method Validation, and Nutrition.


The FDA issued its long-awaited set of proposed rules on Preventive Controls for Human Food and Produce Safety.  IFSH hosts two FDA-sponsored alliances, the Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance (FSPCA) and the Sprout Safety Alliance, to help the regulated industry comply with the new regulations.


FSPCA appoints Project Manager: Katie Swanson, Ph.D. has been appointed as  Project Manager - Curriculum Development for FSPCA to lead the curriculum development track of the Alliance. Dr. Swanson is an internationally renowned food safety expert, currently President for the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP), and a member of the International Commission on Microbiological Specifications for Foods (ICMSF). Prior to taking the role with IFSH, Dr. Swanson was Vice President-Food Safety, Ecolab.


FSPCA Working Group Meeting on Hazard Analysis: The Working Group Chairs and Vice Chairs met face-to-face at IFSH on March 25, 2013 to discuss detailed contents for the Hazard Analysis section of the core curriculum.  The materials developed from these groups were collated by the Editorial Subcommittee, which is charged with synchronizing the input from the Working Groups for consistency.  In addition, the Working Groups reviewed the curriculum's Table of Contents, and Chapters 1 and 2. 


The Sprout Safety Alliance hosted a pilot training and feedback session on the best practices to minimize microbiological risks associated with sprouts on February 14, 2013 in the IFSH conference room. The session was attended by approximately 15 representatives from local sprout producers and urban farms, as well as from the Illinois Department of Health. Attendees were presented training materials that have been developed by the Sprout Safety Alliance Technical Working Group, and the feedback received was very helpful in educating Working Group members of the issues small sprout producers may face when incorporating some of the best practices into their operations.


New Staff
Sal Lopez joined IIT IFSH as a Support Chemist to support the Center for Specialty Programs proficiency testing projects.

Sara Swanson joined IIT IFSH as a Support Microbiologist to support the FDA-funded Produce Safety Special Project.
Christina Stam, Ph.D., joined FDA Food Chemistry Group as an ORISE fellow to support projects on control of microbiological hazards.
Stephen Walker, Ph.D., joined FDA Process Engineering Branch as a Research Scientist in Dairy Food Safety, Stephen has a very impressive background in Dairy Engineering. He graduated with a Ph.D. in Agricultural and Bioengineering from Penn State University and has been a Research Assistant Professor at the University of Kentucky for the past few years prior to joining FDA.
Summer Interns
Angélica Pabón, Xiara Tapia and Diorella Marie Lopez Gonzalez, students from Universidad del Este, Carolina, Puerto Rico will be participating in the DHS STEM Summer Program. The students are arriving in Chicago from June 3 to August 1, 2013. Morgan Morrison is from North Carolina Central University and part of NCCU's Biomanufacturing Research Institute and Technology Enterprise program. Morgan will work with Stephen Grove and Alvin Lee on the NoroCORE Virus Project currently funded by USDA. She will arrive in Chicago May 20 to August 9, 2013.
IIT IFSH Summer Semester 2013
IIT's Summer 2013 semester begins June 3 and ends July 27, 2013. The following IFSH Graduate Program courses will be offered at IIT's Main Campus. Please visit our website for full course descriptions, links and registration details.
FST/FPE 504 Food Biotechnology
Instructor: Wei Zhang, Ph.D.
Monday and Wednesday: 5:00 pm-7:30 pm
FST/FPE 522- Advanced Food Process Engineering
Instructor: Kathiravan Krishnamurthy, Ph.D.
Tuesday and Thursday 5:00 pm-7:30 pm
FST/FPE 597701 - Food Law
Instructor: Richard Schell, J.D.
June 3-7, 2012, 8:45 am-2:45 pm
2013 - 2014 Food Processing Specialist Certificate Program
Once again, we are now accepting applications for the upcoming Food Processing Specialist Certificate Program which is tailored to industry personnel. The program will start in August 2013 and complete in April 2014. Please download the Food Processing Specialist Program flier for more information and the 2013-2014 course schedule for dates and times. Seating is limited!
For more information on IFSH education programs, please contact Renee McBrien, Manager, Education and Outreach, 708.563.8271 or


As part of the FDA funded special project on Points of Safe Harbor for Extruded Low Moisture Foods, Wenger has installed a single-screw extruder (Wenger X85) within IFSH's Biosafety Containment Pilot Plant (BCPP) facility for challenge experiments. This is also a key project for the IFSH Low Moisture Foods Safety Task Force. The contribution of Wenger to the project is a good example of how IFSH member companies can engage with the IFSH collaborative research programs.
Illinois Institute of Technology's (IIT) Institute for Food Safety and Health (IFSH) is a one-of-a-kind applied food science research institute that provides stakeholders in government, industry and academia the opportunity to develop and exchange knowledge and expertise to address key issues in food safety, food defense and nutrition. Located at IIT's Moffett Campus in Bedford Park, IL, IFSH is also home to the FDA CFSAN Division of Food Processing Science and Technology. For more, visit