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Center for Foodborne Illness Research and Prevention


News Archive

  1. Baby eating - photo by hui sang on Unsplash

    FDA Releases Action Plan for Reducing Exposure to Toxic Elements from Foods for Babies, Young Children

    Apr 15, 2021

    Summary from FDA website: 

    "Protecting one of our most vulnerable populations, babies and young children, is among the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s highest priorities. Today, we’re announcing a new action plan, Closer to Zero, that sets forth our approach to reducing exposure to toxic elements in foods commonly eaten by babies and young children to the lowest possible levels. Although the FDA’s testing shows that children are not at an immediate health risk from exposure to toxic elements at the levels found in foods, we are starting the plan’s work immediately, with both short- and long-term goals for achieving continued improvements in reducing levels of toxic elements in these foods over time.

    We recognize that Americans want zero toxic elements in the foods eaten by their babies and young children. In reality, because these elements occur in our air, water and soil, there are limits to how low these levels can be. The FDA’s goal, therefore, is to reduce the levels of arseniclead, cadmium and mercury in these foods to the greatest extent possible. We are also sensitive to the fact that requiring levels that are not currently feasible could result in significant reductions in the availability of nutritious, affordable foods that many families rely on for their children. Our plan, therefore, outlines a multi-phase, science-based, iterative approach to achieving our goal of getting levels of toxic elements in foods closer to zero over time."  

    Click here to read the full article

  2. Woman with spray bottle - Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

    6 Things You Can Clean With Vinegar, and 3 You Shouldn't

    Mar 19, 2021

    One of the members of our CFI Steering Committee, Dr. Sanja Ilic, was recently interviewed for an article on that addressed how to clean with vinegar.

    Click here to read the article.

  3. Texas -  Image by Gordon Johnson from

    Postdoctoral Research Associate Position at Texas A & M University

    Mar 18, 2021

    The Texas A & M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences Department of Veterinary Pathobiology is looking to hire a Postdoctoral Research Associate to help multidisciplinary research projects investigating animal and human enteric viral diseases.

    Click here to view the job description.

  4. stethoscope, photo by pavel-danilyuk-6753425 on pexels

    COVID-19 Measures Accompany Decline of Foodborne Infections

    Feb 16, 2021

    by: Joe Whitworth, Food Safety News

    Summary below is from Food Safety News:

    "There has been a drastic decrease in reported diseases including foodborne infections in Germany during the Coronavirus outbreak, according to an analysis.

    Robert Koch Institute (RKI) experts found the COVID-19 pandemic and associated public health measures are impacting the occurrence and recording of other reportable infectious diseases.

    Experts analyzed the effects of the pandemic and health actions on notifiable diseases in Germany. Those younger than 14 years of age and above 80 were particularly affected.

    They looked at cases of notifiable infectious diseases that were submitted to the Robert Koch Institute between January 2016 and August 2020.

    The change in the number of cases from the start of March 2020 to early August 2020, classed as the COVID-19 pandemic for purposes of the study, were compared to data from January 2016 through the end of February 2020, which was before the outbreak.

    Conclusions back-up results from an analysis in Australia that found diseases, including foodborne infections, declined after public health measures were introduced because of the pandemic."

    Click here to read the Food Safety News article.

  5. Computer research Photo by Jonas Leupe on Unsplash

    Researchers Use and Amazon Reviews to Improve Food Safety

    Feb 16, 2021

    Summary below is from Food Safety News:

    "Researchers are using text mining technology to analyze comments and reviews to improve the traceability of and communication about risky food products.

    In a new study published by the journal “Risk Analysis”  the research team proposes a new Food Safety Monitoring System (FSMS) that uses consumer comments posted on certain websites to identify products associated with food-related illnesses.

    The database consisted of 11,190 randomly selected Amazon reviews of “grocery and canned food” items purchased between 2000 and 2018, along with 8,596 reviews of food products posted on These two datasets allowed the researchers to test the text mining tools before analyzing 4.4 million more Amazon reviews.

    The computers were programmed to recognize words associated with foodborne illness such as “sick,” “vomiting,” “diarrhea,” “fever” and “nausea.” This resulted in a list of flagged products that included specific brands of protein bars, herbal teas, and protein powder. 

    Two of the products flagged by the computers had already been recalled."

    Click here to read the Food Safety News article.

  6. Gambia location, photo from

    Study Finds Stories and Songs Can Boost Food Safety and Hygiene

    Feb 4, 2021

    Summary below is from Food Safety News:

    "Traditional performing arts could be used in some countries to improve food safety and hygiene, according to a recently published study.

    Researchers in The Gambia discovered that mothers’ food safety and hygiene behaviors were improved by a low-cost behavior change community program trialed in rural villages.

    After six months, researchers observed that hospital admissions had reduced by 60 percent for diarrhea. After 32 months, the mothers continued improved food safety and hygiene practices, informing and encouraging new mothers to do the same."

    Click here to read the Food Safety News article.

    Click here to read the study.

  7. CFI icon

    Join Our CFI Team

    Jan 29, 2021

    The Center for Foodborne Illness Research and Prevention (CFI) is hiring a Decision Science Student Intern

    This student intern will work for the Center for Foodborne Illness Research and Prevention (CFI) to support real-world projects in decision science, including value of information analysis. Student may also support work to develop decision focused mental models using in-depth interviews about food safety and other topics. Experience or coursework in decision science desired but not required. Background and interest in psychology, behavioral economics, communication, or consumer behavior would likely be a good fit for this position. Graduate or undergraduate. 10-20 hours a week.

    Work will most likely be remote, but could include in-person meetings in Columbus.

    To apply, go to Workday and search for Job Requisition ID: R5022

    Applications are due by Feb 15.

  8.  Raw Meat by Call Me Fred on Unsplash

    CNN: Parasite Found in Undercooked Meat Linked With Risk of Rare Brain Cancer

    Jan 12, 2021

    By Naomi Thomas, CNN

    Summary from CNN website: "A common parasite people get from contaminated water and undercooked meat may be associated with rare brain cancers, researchers reported Monday.

    They found evidence that people infected with Toxoplasma gondii, or T. gondii, have a higher risk of developing rare but highly fatal gliomas.

    The parasite can sometimes form cysts in the brain and the inflammation associated with these cysts might be responsible, the researchers reported in the International Journal of Cancer."

    Click here to read the article on the CNN website

  9. Kevin Kowalcyk

    CFI Crowdfunding Opportunity

    Dec 1, 2020

    A Message from Barb Kowalcyk, the Director of the Center for Foodborne Illness Research and Prevention:

    On December 10th, my son Kevin Kowalcyk should be celebrating his 22nd birthday, but he isn't. In 2001, at age 2 1/2, Kevin became one of the estimated 3,000 people to die each year in the United States from foodborne illness (Kevin’s story). For the past nineteen years, I have devoted my career to preventing others from getting sick or dying from contaminated food and promoting stronger food safety policies and practices that protect public health. To advance these efforts, I co-founded the Center for Foodborne Illness Research and Prevention (CFI) in 2006 with my mom, Pat Buck. In 2017, we moved CFI to The Ohio State University where I am faculty. At the same time, we started an endowment for CFI to ensure it’s long-term sustainability.

    As you may be aware, today is Giving Tuesday – “a global generosity movement to unleash the power of people to transform their communities and the world” ( In honor of Kevin’s 22nd birthday, we launched a crowdfunding campaign for CFI through OSU this morning: Funds raised will go towards CFI’s endowment and will support our efforts to transform communities and the world by improving food safety and preventing unnecessary illnesses and deaths from foodborne disease. Throughout the campaign – which ends December 31 – I will be highlighting the great work we have done over the past year.

    Please consider sharing this campaign with your social networks and/or making a donation to the campaign. Our goal is to raise $5,000 – last year we raised over $8,000 but understand that things are quite different this year. We would greatly appreciate any support you can provide – even $5 makes a difference! Together we can support CFI’s mission to advance a more scientific, risk-based food safety system that prevents these illnesses and protects public health by translating science into policy and practice – and transform the world.



  10. map of reported cases

    CDC and FDA Are Investigating Several Multistate Outbreaks of E. coli Infections

    Dec 1, 2020

    CDC, public health and regulatory officials in several states, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are investigating several multistate outbreaks of E. coli O157:H7 infections. This outbreak is different from two other E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks CDC is currently investigating (E. coli outbreak with unknown source 1 and E. coli outbreak with unknown source 3).

    Since the last update on October 28, 2020, 16 ill people were added to this investigation.

    As of November 19, 2020, a total of 39 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 have been reported from 18 states. A list of the states and the number of cases in each can be found on the Map of Reported Cases page.

    Click here to read the full article.