Food Safety Magazine

Podcast | May 28, 2019

Ep. 49. Jeff Farber: Listeria and Emerging Food Safety Threats

By Staff

Ep. 49. Jeff Farber: Listeria and Emerging Food Safety Threats

Jeff Farber is the director of the Canadian Research Institute for Food Safety and head of the University of Guelph's Food Safety and Quality Assurance M.Sc. program. 

Farber's most well-known work is a 1991 review paper on Listeria monocytogenes. He's also authored an estimated 50 other papers on Listeria research and risk assessment.

Farber worked at Health Canada for a number of years as a research scientist, research division chief, associate director, and director of microbial food safety. His research interests at Health Canada centered around mycotoxins, Listeria monocytogenes, and Cronobacter sakazakii. He also played a large role in developing many of the food safety policies that are currently in place in Health Canada.

Jeff is the former President of the International Association of Food Protection. He also serves on the International Commission on Microbiological Specifications for Foods, the New York Academy of Sciences Committee on Food Safety, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's External Advisory Committee for the Microbial Safety of Foods, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's Advisory Board for Risk-based Inspections.

He earned his Ph.D. in Food Microbiology from McGill University. 

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In this episode of Food Safety Matters, we speak to Jeff [24:08] about:

  • How his studies evolved from mycotoxin research to Listeria
  • Educating consumers—particularly high-risk populations—about unsafe eating practices
  • All of the factors—including family dynamics and consumer trends—that contribute to today's frequent Listeria outbreaks, and foodborne illness outbreaks in general
  • Figuring out how to use big data to improve risk assessments
  • Why fresh produce and other food groups experience more food safety issues now compared to previous years
  • How free trade agreements affect food safety in Canada
  • Global warming and its emergence as a serious danger to food safety
  • Animals and food products that have been increasingly associated with Hepatitis E
  • The online grocery sector—including a new food delivery innovation introduced by Amazon—and how gaps in how its regulated could mean more food safety risks
  • The process of producing lab-grown meat, and the need for proper hazard analysis in this new arena
  • Challenging University of Guelph students to brainstorm solutions to emerging food safety issues

Related Content 
Listeria monocytogenes, A Foodborne Pathogen (1991)

News Mentioned in This Episode
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USDA to Begin Testing for African Swine Fever [14:20] 
Compost Potatoes | Jose Andres [16:35]

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