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Love macaroni and cheese? You may want to read this

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Study shows CDC’s PulseNet cost-effectively prevents illness and saves money

Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on the School of Public Health’s blog.

A study from the School of Public Health shows that over the past 20 years, PulseNet, a foodborne outbreak surveillance system, has justified its expense by preventing thousands of bacterial infections and saving millions of dollars in medical and productivity costs.

The study, led by Professor Craig Hedberg and economist Robert Scharff from Ohio State University, was recently published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine.

“If it weren’t for the activity of PulseNet, we’d actually have seen an increase in infections, such as Salmonella, over time in the United States,” says Hedberg.

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UMN research finds room for improvement in Latin American & Caribbean food safety safeguards

Food safety standards can be shaky at best in developing Caribbean and Latin American regions. In 2002, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated at least one-third of individuals in developing countries likely contract a foodborne illness each year. And with Latin America and the Caribbean forecasted to play a growing role in global food production and exports in the coming years, that high rate of foodborne illness is one worth paying attention to.

University of Minnesota food safety risk analyst and assistant professor, Fernando Sampedro Parra, Ph.D., has focused his sights on the problem and recently conducted first-of-its-kind research for the region.

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Food safety tips for traveling

Headed to Brazil for the 2014 FIFA World Cup? Already thinking about the tantalizing smells of colorful and delicious new foods? For some people, food is the reason to travel. But while the mouthwatering smell of new and exotic treats may call out to travelers’ taste buds, their stomachs may not always be up for the adventure.

It’s a common misconception that food abroad isn’t as “safe” as food at home. While true for some things, more often than not eating food abroad can cause illness because no matter how healthy you are, you haven’t developed defenses against all bacteria — especially bacteria foreign to you. Something as seemingly harmless as a piece of melon can wreak havoc on a person’s system if not properly prepared.

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In the News: U of M researcher defends bacteria zapping in foods

Did you know the Federal Food and Drug Administration has approved using nuclear energy to wipe out bacteria in dozens of foods?

If your answer is no, you’re not alone.  The process – known as irradiation – has gained support from public health officials and scientists but the public has yet to catch on.

Irradiation involves the use of radiation to wipe out pathogens in dozens of food products including oysters and imported fruits. In fact, it’s been used in other developed countries for decades without reports of human harm.

But for many, the thought of injecting food with radiation sounds like something out of a science fiction movie…

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The research safeguarding your next meal

The University of Minnesota’s National Center for Food Protection and Defense is working hard to safeguard your next meal. Here’s a glimpse into the Minnesota-based research defending the global food supply.

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