The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA’s FSIS) has highlighted several fellowship projects that will advance food safety and help to inform FSIS decision-making.

Five fellows who are working towards their Ph.D. were selected through the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education program. The fellows will work in collaboration with FSIS scientists.

First, fellow Brittani Bedford from Penn State University is developing antimicrobial packaging to reduce Salmonella in poultry. The packaging material is coated in an antimicrobial compound that could reduce the quantity of pathogens that might be present. The project may reduce foodborne illnesses and food waste by reducing pathogenic and spoilage microorganisms.

Kingsley Bentum from Tuskegee University is developing an improved identification method for Campylobacter and Salmonella in environmental samples. He will also look at the potential for antimicrobial resistance to develop in the pathogens.

Azin Farmanfarmaee from the University of Georgia is investigating the use of radio frequency (RF) technology to improve pasteurization of dried egg powders. The project will improve the agency’s understanding of RF heating technology and could result in a more effective pasteurization process for dried egg powders.

Rutwik Joshi from Texas Tech University is developing a rapid detection method for Salmonella in poultry using a quantum dot based fluorescent detection technique. The method requires minimal equipment and could be used to detect Salmonella in the field.

Finally, Lauren Lee from Texas A&M University is investigating potential changes in Salmonella levels in poultry products along the supply chain. The findings will provide information to determine where additional controls and/or future educational activities could be focused to reduce salmonellosis.