Dr. Guangtao Zhang, Ph.D., is the Director of the Mars Global Food Safety Center (GFSC), where he leads an international team of experts who are driving progress in several areas of food safety, including mycotoxin risk management, microbial risk management, and food integrity. Dr. Zhang has contributed to over 40 peer-reviewed publications and five patents that are advancing capabilities in food safety science and application. He has also shared insights at several international conferences in a range of key areas in food safety research. Prior to his time at GFSC, Dr. Zhang held a postdoctoral fellowship at Cornell University and developed therapeutics for breast cancer as a faculty member at Mount Sinai’s Ichan School of Medicine.

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In this episode of Food Safety Matters, we speak with Dr. Zhang [18:10] about:

  • The rise of food safety and quality hazards around the world, and how the Mars Global Food Safety Center aims to tackle such challenges by generating new insights, driving technology innovations, and improving food safety capabilities and methodologies
  • How mycotoxins harm public health, the ways in which climate change is increasing mycotoxin production, and what GFSC is doing to improve mycotoxin risk management in the food industry
  • The necessity of simplifying Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) so that farmers can reduce the risk of mycotoxins in their harvests by effectively employing GAPs
  • How the 2021 United Nations Food System Summit created a coalition of organizations that is developing actionable food safety plans through data analysis, risk assessment, testing and learning, and risk communications
  • The implications of microbiological contamination, and how the food industry can shift from a reactive to a proactive approach when combatting microbial hazards
  • GFSC’s work in combatting microbiological contamination of the global food supply, including faster detection, better traceability, and predicting microbial hazards before they occur
  • How GFSC is collaborating with academic institutions to make whole genome sequencing and multiplex sequencing more accessible, affordable, and efficient
  • How GFSC is addressing food fraud with spectroscopy and spectrometry
  • GFSC’s research and development efforts in advancing genomics and tracking shifts in the food microbiome
  • GFSC’s intent to explore digitization, data, and AI as future food safety solutions, and what those solutions will look like when they are fully realized.

News and Resources:

E. coli in Lettuce Affected by Season of Harvest, Shelf Life, Storage Temperatures [4:55]

Study Observes Two Decades of E. coli Evolution [8:80]

AFDO Whitepaper Asks FDA to Modernize Recalls [12:40]

AFDO Whitepaper

Ep. 108. STOP Foodborne Illness and AFDO: Joining Forces for Recall Modernization (November 23, 2021)

Sponsored by:

Michigan State University Online Food Safety Program

Online MS in Food Safety Program

Curriculum: Online MS in Food Safety Program

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