Food Safety & Foodborne Disease Prevention




Our vision for the Department is to be the preeminent integrated (research,education, extension) food safety program, providing students and stakeholders with the capacity to analyze situations, address issues, and produce solutions that prevent contaminants in food and their adverse effects on human health.




  • Increase the knowledge and skills of students and stakeholders through excellence and innovation in food safety education and training programs.
  • Increase food safety and prevention outreach and service programs to students and stakeholders.
  • Position the department to have a greater role and influence in federal, state, and local food safety policy.


Faculty and Research Interests

Fred Breidt

  • Safety and microbial ecology of fermented and acidified vegetable products
  • Survival of probiotic lactic acid bacterial cultures in fermented foods

Lee-Ann Jaykus

  • The risk of viral foodborne disease: An integrated approach using laboratory-based methods and mathematical modeling
  • A risk-based approach to determine “best consumed by” dates to control exposure to Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat (RTE) meats
  • Ecology and control of pathogenic strains of Vibrio vulnificus and Vibrio parahaemolyticus in U.S. Gulf Coast oysters
  • Food safety research and response network

Sophia Kathariou

  • Epidemic-associated lineages of Listeria monocytogenes: Genomic features, evolution, and ecological adaptations
  • Resistance of Listeria spp. to heavy metals and to quaternary ammonium disinfectants
  • Host-specific markers, antibiotic resistance, and clonal groups of Campylobacter jejuni and C. coli from animal production systemsBacterial adaptations to low temperature and mechanisms underlying tolerance to repeated freezing and thawing

Ilenys Perez-Diaz

  • Unveiling the metabolic potential of microorganisms present in vegetable fermentations using genomics and bioinformatics
  • Development of improved techniques to prevent the growth of spoilage microorganisms and assure inactivation of pathogenic bacteria in acidified vegetable product

Clint Stevenson

  • Reality-based training systems, including videos, games, and customized training modules
  • Increasing the workforce capacity of food safety professionals through optimizing recruitment activities