Foodborne illnesses result in an estimated 600 million illnesses annually. Low- and middle-income countries bear most of the burden, largely due to poor food handling practices, weak regulatory systems and inadequate food safety laws.
This project is funded by a $3.39 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID) and aims to develop and implement a risk-based framework for food safety management and resource allocation with the goal of reducing foodborne illnesses and deaths and increasing equitable consumption of a safe, affordable and nutritious diet.
The research study is led by Barbara Kowalcyk, assistant professor in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University, and builds on the strong foundation of food safety work conducted at Ohio State. The project involves faculty and research expertise from Ohio State’s Global One Health initiative’s (GOHi) eastern Africa office, the Colleges of Education and Human Ecology and Public Health, the University of Florida’s Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems, International Livestock Research Institute, Ethiopian Public Health Institute, University of Gondar and Haramaya University as well as several other academic institutions and government agencies in Ethiopia.
The work will focus on three major food safety hazards in Ethiopia including non-typhoidal Salmonella, diarrheagenic Escherichia coli and Campylobacter. Consumption of beef and dairy is increasing in Ethiopia and elsewhere in Africa as their economies improve. However, traditional processing of these products occurs in informal settings, utilizes raw products and rarely involves safe food handling practices such as pasteurization and thorough cooking before eating. The study will investigate cost-effective, gender-sensitive and socio-culturally acceptable ways to improve the safety of raw beef and dairy products.