Jovana Kovacevic, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor and Food Safety Extension Specialist at Oregon State University’s Food Innovation Center (OSU’s FIC) in Portland, Oregon. In her current role, Dr. Kovacevic directs the food safety program at FIC and the Western Regional Center to Enhance Food Safety, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Her research uses molecular methods and whole genome sequencing to trace, better understand, and prevent contamination events in the food chain, with particular focus on Listeria monocytogenes. Her work with the Western Regional Center supports the Western U.S. region in food safety training, education, and outreach activities related to the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

Prior to joining OSU, Dr. Kovacevic held various positions, including a lecturer at the University of British Columbia, a food safety consultant with the British Columbia Ministry of Health, and a Food Safety Scientist at the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control in Canada.

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In this episode of Food Safety Matters, we speak with Jovana [4:19] about:

  • The work at OSU’s FIC to advance food safety, including the development of outreach materials related to FSMA
  • How industry informs what topics are researched at FIC
  • The best strategies for mitigating pervasive strains of Listeria monocytogenes in food processing facilities, according to Dr. Kovacevic's research
  • The importance of defining clear goals for an environmental monitoring program
  • The factors that make L. monocytogenes problematic for produce
  • How L. monocytogenes develops tolerance to sanitizers and the implications of this challenge
  • Dr. Kovacevic's perspective on trends in antimicrobial resistance (AMR) among L. monocytogenes and other pathogens
  • The background of the Western Regional Center to Enhance Food Safety, and how the Center develops trainings for FSMA-related workshops
  • The need to translate new technologies into tools that will help industry mitigate food safety risks.

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