Ohio State project aims to mitigate food safety risks in Ethiopia

Global health project supported by $3.39 million grant

Foodborne illnesses are critical global health problems, resulting 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.

TDAI affiliate Barbara Kowalcyk, an assistant professor in the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University, wants nothing more than to reduce the risk of foodborne illness. She hopes her research study funded by a $3.39 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Department for International Development of the United Kingdom(DFID) will provide important information that can be used to help improve food safety and enhance nutrition in low- to middle-income countries.

Over the next four years, the grant will be used 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.

“Foodborne diseases are a significant public health issue,” Kowalcyk said. “And we cannot secure good nutrition without food safety. There is a lot of opportunity to make a significant impact in Ethiopia. I hope our work translates into fewer illnesses, less burden and healthier lives.”

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