By Carla Gillespie
Minnesota has been selected as the location for one of five Food Safety Centers of Excellence by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The establishment of five regional food safety centers to prevent and respond to foodborne illness outbreaks was a provision of the Food Safety Modernization Act authored by U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D- Minnesota).
The center, a collaborative venture by the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Department of Health, will provide resources, support and training to public health officials in the region. It will also develop educational courses and programs to serve the broader community.
"Minnesota has been a leader in the effort to improve food safety, and today's announcement means that our state will continue to be on the front lines in the fight to keep consumers safe," Klobuchar said, in a statement. "Ensuring a rapid response to outbreaks of contaminated food is critical to maintaining public trust in our food supply, and I will continue to work to improve the security of the food on our tables."
Klobuchar used the food safety surveillance approach of Minnesota Department of Health, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, and the University of Minnesota as models to improve the national system when she co-authored provision, called the Food Safety Rapid Response Act, with Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-Georgia.) The CDC awarded the Minnesota Department of Health $199,970 to help create the Center.