Alissa Welsher, Ph.D. is an Associate Senior Consultant at Elanco Poultry Food Safety. Dr. Welsher received her B.S. degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Pittsburgh, as well as an M.S. degree in Poultry Science and a Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology from the University of Arkansas. Her area of expertise is molecular physiology, and she specializes in heat stress and gut health.

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In this episode of Food Safety Matters, we speak with Dr. Welsher about:

  • How industry’s understanding of pest management’s role in food safety has evolved in recent years
  • Why pests are often an overlooked source of foodborne pathogens like Salmonella, and why darkling beetles, in particular, are important to consider as a possible contributor to Salmonella
  • Insights on the darkling beetle, where darkling beetles are typically found, and how beetles can transmit disease
  • The initiation and execution of a study that showed a correlation between beetle populations and Salmonella load in poultry flocks
  • Current indicators of pre-harvest Salmonella load and how those indicators are managed, and why beetles can be a possible indicator of pre-harvest Salmonella load
  • Actions producers can take to gain control of pest presence on farm
  • How the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service' (USDA-FSIS') framework to reduce cases of salmonellosis attributable to poultry may lead to producers prioritizing integrated pest management.

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