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Active Projects

Food Systems Veterinary Medicine for the 21st Century

Objective: To develop a new framework, curriculum and delivery mechanism that will transform the mindset and skill set for veterinarian’s tasked with safely feeding the world.  There is a serious shortage of veterinarians to support the supply of safe and wholesome food.  There is a need for experts to work in today’s complex farming, food production, and processing systems. A veterinarian working in the food supply chain must understand the implications of decisions throughout the food, environment and public health systems. They must understand the “systems approach” to problem solving. The systems approach is a holistic view of the elements and processes working together to produce a desired result. However, changing veterinary education is difficult because current students are overloaded with information.  There is no time for more courses, labs or rotations. Innovative methods in this project are to 1) modify existing food animal topics providing current content while imparting the systems methodology and 2) apply concrete systems engineering principles through partnership with the engineering college. We will develop at least one Systems Trainer at each collaborating university, Iowa State University, Kansas State University and University of Arkansas.  These trainers, who are well versed in application of systems engineering methods to veterinary medicine and food safety, will work with selected faculty to modify some of their existing lectures. The revised lectures will include the original content while setting the information into systems based examples.   

Risk informed management of Salmonella in deep tissue lymph nodes

Objective:  To build and parameterize a quantitative risk model of the Salmonella prevalence from the farm to the wholesale pork distribution, and to apply the model in evaluating the relative contribution of each Salmonella source, especially lymph nodes, to human food-borne risk.  This project will produce information and analysis which can be presented directly to food safety regulators and industry decision makers about the relative impact of lymph node contamination.  Of longer lasting value will be the quantitative model resulting from this project.  Using currently available data it will model impacts of changing pathogen prevalence along the farm to wholesale pork continuum. It will be available for future analysis on other pathogens or other intervention questions.

The Impact of Pig Health on Public Health: Quantitative Data for Risk Assessments

Objectives: To collect data in order to determine if carcass adhesions increase the risk of Salmonella contamination, and to determine if common respiratory pathogens contribute to these adhesions. A prevalence count of carcass adhesions will also be taken. Samples will be taken at different plants nationwide. The data gathered will be used in a future quantitative risk assessment.

Salmonella in Lymph nodes of Fed and Cull Cattle: Relative Assessment of Risk to Ground Beef 

Objectives: To develop a model quantitatively assessing the relative contribution of deep tissue lymph nodes (DTLN) to Salmonella contamination of ground beef products and exercise the model to estimate the impact of various interventions (e.g. preharvest, carcass interventions, DTLN removal, and treatment of final ground beef products). A quantitative risk assessment model will be derived to estimate the changes of Salmonella prevalence and concentration along the farm/feedlot to in-plant processing continuum. Model scenarios for ground beef production from fed and cull cattle in high and low prevalence seasons will be evaluated. This project will provide food safety regulators and industry decision makers with information for efficiently directing resources towards reducing Salmonella in ground beef products. 

RA&DM Graduate Certificate Program

Objectives: Develop certificate and graduate programs in risk assessment.

Additional information: http://www.bigmap.iastate.edu/radm/