Published in Food Protection Trends, July-August 2013
The NC Research Campus (NCRC) in Kannapolis, just north of Charlotte, possesses scientific expertise and instrumentation that can boost the ability of companies and organizations to comply with the more stringent requirements for safety plans and product testing under the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Food Safety Modernization Act.
Food safety expert Leonard Williams, PhD, director of NC A&T State University Center for Excellence in Post Harvest Technologies (CEPHT), is just one of the scientists who are part of the NCRC’s 16 corporate, academic and healthcare partners. Working collaboratively with industry, academia and government, Williams is accelerating scientific breakthroughs in the reduction and elimination of foodborne pathogens and the development of new products and methodologies to identify and reduce the presence of microbial contaminants. He is a co-investigator on a multi-institutional, multi-million dollar United States Department of Agriculture grant through which he is developing biomaterials with antimicrobial properties that can be used in packaging and on hard surfaces. He is leading research into the identification of natural compounds that have antibacterial properties that reduce the virulence of foodborne pathogens, and is one of the first to track strains of Staphylococcus aureus in produce.
Another NCRC asset is post-harvest physiologist Penny Perkins-Veazie, PhD, with the NC State University Plants for Human Health Institute. She partners with industry and trade boards to improve storage methods, extend shelf life, enhance functional food compounds and evaluate food safety, quality and consumer-appeal characteristics such as fla¬vor, color, antioxidants and texture. She recently won an award for the development of the Pack ‘N Cool mobile cooling unit for farmers. She is part of a three-year, FDA grant studying Salmonella in tomato fields and distribution houses.
The NCRC houses one of largest and most diverse array of instrumentation in the David H. Murdock Research Institute (DHMRI). DHMRI works with collaborators to develop methods for the molecular detection of foodborne pathogens and conducts analytical testing in metabolomics, genomics, proteomics, and chemical analytics. Their services include microscopy and imaging, immunoassay development, biomarker and trait identification, detection of drug residues and contaminants, animal studies, auditing services and microbiology and chemistry testing for food, clinical and animal applications.
For more information about working the NC Research Campus regarding food safety, e-mail email@example.com.