Lise Korsten, Ph.D. is the Co-Director of the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) in the Center of Excellence in Food Security at the University of Pretoria in South Africa. She is also responsible for the food safety and regulatory control programs within the DSI-National Research Foundation (NRF) Center of Excellence in Food Security and actively interacts with other researchers in various institutes. She holds the position of Chair in the Global Task Force of Food Security for the International Society for Plant Pathology. Dr. Korsten has also addressed the South African Parliament on Food Safety Control and has developed a national framework for government to develop a Food Control Authority.

Dr. Korsten has been able to attract extensive national and international long-term funding for food safety and water quality research projects and an EU Framework project on climate change and fresh produce. She also developed South Africa's first biocontrol agent for fruit and established a biocontrol research group at the University of Pretoria. Additionally, she has established a fresh produce health group that focuses on food safety of fresh produce and on sanitary and phytosanitary aspects related to international trade. Dr. Korsten's research has focused on the complementary fields of postharvest technology and food safety as related to international trade in fresh produce. As a team, the Plant Health and Safety research group has developed several innovative technologies to reduce disease and prevent product contamination.

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In this episode of Food Safety Matters, we speak with Dr. Korsten [30:37] about:

  • Her work with the DSI-NRF Center of Excellence in Food Security to understand the causes of and solutions to microbial contamination of potable water and irrigation water in Africa
  • Technologies Dr. Korsten’s team has developed that enhance food crop safety and plant health
  • Dr. Korsten’s involvement with GFSI's Science Technology Advisory Group (STAG), which works to leverage available scientific knowledge across a range of topics to advance food safety 
  • Food system transformations and considerations that are required to ensure “safe food for all” in the face of future challenges
  • Interventions and technologies that could help address some of the most pressing global food safety and security threats, such as the effects of climate change and the rise of antimicrobial resistance (AMR)
  • The global shift away from pesticides that is occurring due to realizations about the human health and environmental harms of the chemicals, and why similar scrutiny should be applied to the downstream impact from excessive use of sanitizers and disinfectants
  • New technologies that have promise for food safety, such as rapid identification methods, AI, and sensors. 

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