Public Release: 

U of M faculty honored by US FDA for contributions to national food safety and defense

University of Minnesota

Three University of Minnesota faculty members will be awarded special citations from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for their contributions to maintaining and promoting national food safety and defense. The awards will be presented at the 47th Annual FDA Honor Awards Ceremony, "Transforming for the Next Century," Friday, May 11 in Gaithersburg, Md.

Frank Busta, Ph.D., director of the National Center for Food Protection and Defense (NCFPD); Shaun Kennedy, deputy director of NCFPD and associate director of the Center for Animal Health and Food Safety; and, Michael T. Osterholm, Ph.D., M.P.H., director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) and former associate director of NCFPD at the University of Minnesota, have been selected to receive the FDA Commissioner's Special Citation Award for 2007.

Busta and Kennedy will be recognized for "leadership in fostering effective partnerships in international food safety capacity building programs to improve the safety of food imported into the U.S and consumed globally." For the past 30 years, Osterholm has been an internationally recognized expert in foodborne disease outbreak investigations and disease surveillance. He will be honored for his "continuing excellence in promoting food safety and food defense to ensure the safety of the American public."

In addition, all three recipients will be honored for establishing the NCFPD "in order to advance the security and safety of the nation's food supply through research, education, and outreach."

"These awards are a reflection of the University of Minnesota's excellence and interdisciplinary investment in food safety research," said Frank B. Cerra, Senior Vice President for Health Sciences at the University of Minnesota. "The faculty members being honored are part of an elite group working through public and private collaborations to keep the American public safe."

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The NCFPD was officially launched as a Homeland Security Center of Excellence in July 2004. Developed as a multidisciplinary and action-oriented research consortium, NCFPD addresses the vulnerability of the nation's food system to attack through intentional contamination with biological or chemical agents. It takes a comprehensive, farm-to-table view of the food system, encompassing all aspects from primary production through transportation and food processing to retail and food service.

CIDRAP was created in September 2001 as an interdisciplinary center in the University of Minnesota's Academic Health Center. Its mission is to prevent illness and death from infectious diseases through epidemiologic research and the rapid translation of scientific information into real-world, practical applications and solutions. To learn more, visit www.cidrap.umn.edu.

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