Monday, November 14, 2011

Seminar: "Taking Plant Breeding, Genetics and Biotechnology Training Beyond the Borders of the US with MSU as a Global Grant University”

Dr. Cholani Weebadde, assistant professor in the Department of Horticulture, will speak on Thursday, November 17th  at 4:10 pm in A149 PSSB, Michigan State University. Dr. Weebadde's international work involves "building capacity in developing countries on agricultural development related issues, collaborative research project and program management, team building and human resource development, and institutional development and networking."  Her research areas include plant breeding and genetics and molecular breeding and genomics.  She conducts training programs in agricultural biotechnology, environmental biosafety and food safety, intellectual property rights, and technology transfer.  Dr. Weebadde earned her bachelor's degree from the University of Colombo in Sri Lanka and her doctorate from MSU.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Symposium: The Role of Public and Private Regulation in Detecting and Responding to Foodborne Disease Outbreaks

A symposium will be held at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on November 21, 2011, 1:30 to 4:30pm. In this final event, a multidisciplinary team will evaluate and compare the current systems for detecting and responding to foodborne outbreaks in the U.S. and the European Union. In the context of recent, produce-related foodborne outbreaks in the EU and the US, the team will examine and compare the respective approaches, assessing challenges in surveillance, detection, trace-back and identification of a contaminated food item. Finally, we will consider lessons learned from recent outbreaks by examining issues of public health, responsibilities of industry, and comparisons of regulatory frameworks.

Those speaking include;
— Dr. Jeri Barak-Cunningham, Assistant Professor, Plant Pathology, University of Wisconsin – Madison. "Fresh produce – no longer surprising but now a major source of foodborne illness." 
—  Dr. Robert Tauxe, Deputy Director, Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases, US CDC. "The cycle of public health:  Can we detect, investigate,and control foodborne outbreaks faster?"
— Dr. Jordi Serratosa-Vilageliu, EFSA Liaison Officer at FDA.  "Improving public health decision making with tools of risk analysis."

To register, please send an email to Lorna Zach ( with your name, affiliation, and email contact information. A webcast may be available.

Friday, September 23, 2011

2nd EFLA EU-US Food Law Conference

The European Food Law Association (“EFLA”) 2nd EFLA EU-US Food Law Conference, "Food
International Trade
 Food," will be held on October 24, 2011.  A copy of the conference brochure is available here.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Public Health Law Research Annual Meeting

Public Health Law Research is holding the 2012 Public Health Law Research Annual Meeting, "Public Health Law: Targets of Opportunity," January 18-20, 2012, in New Orleans. The conference will highlight research that provides evidence about how law can be used to improve population health; abstracts are being accepted until November 15, 2011.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Summary of Key Provisions of the Food Safety Modernization Act

Food and Drug Administration logoImage via WikipediaThe FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), which signed into law by President Obama on January 4, 2011, amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to shift the focus of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from primarily reacting to food safety problems to prevention.

A summary of key new provisions and their impact is available on the Institute for Food Laws and Regulations website here.
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Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Still Time to Enroll in Summer Academy on Global Food Law & Policy

There are only five places left at the upcoming 3rd Summer Academy on Global Food Law & Policy planned from 25 till 29 July, Lake Como, Italy.

In the keynote speech David Byrne, the former EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, will present his views about the future of EU and international food regulation and the role public authorities should play in nutritional issues. Others covers topics such as the past, present, and future of the WTO SPS Agreement, the challenge of regulatory compliance with national and transnational food & beverages regimes, and Codex Alimentarius: Waste of time or food deliberate democracy? and more.

More information is available here.

Friday, June 03, 2011

European E. Coli Outbreak Puts Spotlight on US Government Preparedness

David Acheson, Managing Director of Food and Import Safety at Leavitt Partners, pointed out in a recent CNBC interview, "You can't say it won't happen here. You have to assume it will happen. We need to ramp up our prevention controls." 

The National Center for Biomedical Research and Training (NCBRT), a member of the Food and Agriculture Protection Training Consortium (FAPTC), is offering DHS-certified and sponsored training at no direct cost to state and local food emergency responders. "A Coordinated Response to Food Emergencies: Practice and Execution" is designed to have an impact on limiting the devastation caused by contamination of the food supply.The course provides responders with training on food emergency response procedures with an emphasis on coordination between local, state and federal food and health officials. In the United Sates, communication among this patchwork of government agencies can lead to slow detection of illness and slow response in containing an outbreak.

"The deadly E. coli outbreak in Europe should not be a surprise. This type of outbreak could happen anywhere," said Thomas Tucker, NCBRT Director. "We are especially vulnerable here in the United States with our complex processing and distribution system and high volume of imported goods. That is why the NCBRT has gotten ahead of the game by developing and offering training to help prevent and prepare for such an incident."  

"We are pleased to support such a crucial course," says Jerry Wojtala, Executive Director with the International Food Protection Training Institute (IFPTI). "This course is a key to preventing the devastating consequences a food contamination incident, like the one we're seeing now, can have if government, food industry and public health officials are unprepared."

The Food and Agriculture Protection Training Consortium (FAPTC), is comprised of eight university-based training centers along with the International Food Protection Training Institute.  It is focused on developing and delivering food protection training primarily to U.S. government regulatory officials at the federal, state, local, tribal and territorial levels along with others responsible for safety of the U.S. food supply, such as industry, third party auditors and regulatory officials in other countries.  

FAPTC provides sustainable, standardized, current, peer-reviewed, on-demand training both domestically and internationally essential for the coordinated prevention and response to food safety incidents impacting the U.S. food supply and citizens. More information on FAPTC can be found at

NCBRT Contact:
Julie Cavin
Public Affairs & Outreach Coordinator, NCBRT
(225) 578-0619

IFPTI Contact:
Jerry Wojtala

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Language and Culture Day Camps at MSU

Every summer, MSU offers language and culture day camps for children ages 7-12 on campus. They take place for one week (Monday-Thursday or Friday) from 9 am - 4 pm. Morning-only options are available for all camps. No previous knowledge of the language is necessary and children of higher proficiency levels can be accommodated. For more information, visit

Monday, May 23, 2011

FDA Public Meeting on the Food Safety Modernization Act: Inspection/Compliance

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced an advance notice of Registration to attend the Public Meeting entitled, "FDA Food Safety Modernization Act: Focus on Inspection and Compliance Provisions." 

The public meeting will be held on Monday, June 6, 2011, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET, with registration open at 7:30 a.m. The meeting location is on the FDA White Oak Campus, The Great Room, Building 31, Room 1503, 10903 New Hampshire Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20993. This is the third public meeting FDA has held on the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The previous meetings, held on March 29 and April 20, 2011, focused on the import and preventive controls provisions under FSMA.

The Federal Register notice announcing this meeting is expected to publish soon.

The purpose of this public meeting is to provide interested persons an opportunity to discuss implementation of the inspection and compliance provisions of the recently enacted FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The public will have an opportunity to provide information and share views that will inform the development of guidance and regulations and/or the implementation of: Enforcement Authorities; Frequency and Targeting of Facility Inspections; Manner of Inspection in a Preventive Controls Environment; and Enhancement of the Reportable Food Registry (RFR).

FDA officials scheduled to speak include:

  • Michael Taylor, Deputy Commissioner for Foods
  • Dara Corrigan, Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs
  • Barbara Cassens, Chair, Implementation Team for Inspections and Compliance
  • Howard Sklamberg, Vice Chair, Implementation Team for Inspections and Compliance
  • Roberta Wagner, Vice Chair, Implementation Team for Inspections and Compliance

Meeting participants will be able to attend three of four breakout sessions addressing Enforcement Authorities, Frequency and Targeting of Facility Inspections, Manner of Inspection in a Preventive Controls Environment, and Enhancement of the Reportable Food Registry (RFR). Each breakout session will be 75 minutes.

Registration for this meeting is currently available. You can pre-register to participate at the meeting on location or pre-register for the Webcast at: Seating is limited, please register early.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Seminar: Reinventing Transnational Governance to Improve the Safety of the Global Food Supply

On Wednesday, April 27th, Neal Fortin will present the Malcolm Trout lecture at 4:00 pm, 1135 S. Anthony Hall. (This room is located to the south of the Dairy Store in Anthony Hall on the Michigan State University campus.) The title of his talk is "Reinventing Transnational Governance to Improve the Safety of the Global Food Supply."

Friday, March 18, 2011

Call for Proposals

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Public Health Law Research program has announced a call for proposals for studies aimed at building the evidence base for strengthening the use of regulatory, legal, and policy solutions to improve public health. The deadline for submitting a preliminary proposal is April 20, 2011. For more information, visit here

Thursday, March 17, 2011

RWJ Health Impact Project Issues Call for Proposals

Health Impact Project: Advancing Smarter Policies for Healthier Communities
Application Deadline: June 1, 2011 5:00 PM EDT

The Health Impact Project is a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts advancing the use of health impact assessment (HIA), which provides sound, objective data than can help decision-makers identify the health ramifications of proposals in a range of sectors that do not traditionally focus on health outcomes, and make recommendations that enhance health benefits and minimize adverse effects and associated costs. A new call for proposals has been issued to help demonstrate the effectiveness of HIAs and promote their incorporation into local, state, tribal and federal decision-making. 

Summer Academy on Global Food law & Policy 2011

The third Summer Academy in Global Food Law & Policy will take place at Como Lake - Italy, July 25-29, 2011, at the beautiful Villa La Collina. A distinguished faculty from relevant food organizations (WTO, Codex, EFSA, EU Commission), industry (Coca Cola) as well as academia (Michigan, Bocconi, HEC Paris) will be animating cutting-edge discussions on the latest developments in global food governance, from food private standards to health claims, from US Food Modernization Act to novel food regulation. 

Among the those presenting are four faculty from the Institute for Food Laws and Regulations (IFLR) at Michigan State University: Neal Fortin, Professor at MSU and IFLR Director along with IFLR guest instructors Alberto Alemmano, Associate Professor of Law at HEC Paris, Gretchen Stanton,  Senior Counsellor at WTO, and Raymond O'Rourke, Barrister, Ireland.

For more information on the program and the faculty, please find the brochure here and more information here and here. Please don't hesitate to contact Nikola Bock ( for more information.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Seminar: “The Role of Science in Meeting the Grand Challenges of the 21st Century” Roger Beachy

"The Role of Science in Meeting
the Grand Challenges of
the 21st Century"
Roger Beachy, Ph.D.
Director of USDA/NIFA
Monday, March 14, 3:00 pm
101 Biochemistry Building
Michigan State University 
All welcome.
Dr. Roger Beachy was appointed to be the first director of the National Institutes of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) in October, 2009, and named Chief Scientist at USDA in January 2010.  As Director of NIFA, he oversees awarding extramural funds for Research, Extension and Education for the U.S. Department of Agriculture; as Chief Scientist, he is responsible for coordinating science activities across the department.  Dr. Roger N. Beachy, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, is internationally known for his groundbreaking research on developing virus-resistant plants through biotechnology. 

Dr. Beachy has received a number of honors for his research.  He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and in 2001 received the Wolf Prize in Agriculture.  He is a fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Microbiology, the National Academy of Science, India, and the Academy of Science of St. Louis.  In 2003, he was elected Councilor for the National Academy of Sciences, and currently serves as a member of the editorial board of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  Dr Beachy was awarded the Dennis Robert Hoagland Award from the American Society of Plant Biologists, an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Michigan State University, and the William D. Phillips Technology Advancement Award from the St. Louis County Economic Council.  Dr. Beachy was named R&D Magazine's Scientist of the Year for 1999.   He was the 1991 recipient of the Bank of Delaware's Commonwealth Award for Science and Industry and the 1990 recipient of the American Phytopathological Society's Ruth Allen Award.
Dr. Beachy holds a Ph.D. in plant pathology from Michigan State University and earned a B.A. in biology from Goshen College in Goshen, Indiana.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Conference on the Safety in Global Food Supply Chains April 27 & 28

The University of Wisconsin–Madison will present a conference addressing implications for import safety of the globalization of the food supply. Panels will examine the development of policies and procedures for dealing with import safety in the public and private sectors, as well as public-private partnerships. 
Agenda and registration visit here.

Monday, March 07, 2011

2011 FDLI Writing Competitions Now Open

The Food and Drug Law Institute (FDLI) sponsors the H. Thomas Austern Memorial Writing Competitions to encourage law students interested in food and drug law. There are two competitions - one for papers with a maximum of 40 pages, and one for papers between 41 and 100 pages.

Entrants must be currently enrolled in a J.D. program at any of the nation's "ABA-accredited" law schools or a 2010-2011 academic year graduate. Papers should provide an in-depth analysis of a current legal issue concerning food, drugs, animal drugs, biologics, cosmetics, diagnostics, dietary supplements, medical devices or tobacco. FDLI welcomes the submission of papers prepared for course work, but entrants must pay attention to competition details and edit such papers accordingly.

For more information, access the FDLI website.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Food Safety Regulation Discussion Forums this month

Small food processors, producers and food entrepreneurs are invited to participate in a series of forum discussions on Michigan food safety regulations. As the Michigan Food Law is improved and revised, these forums provide an opportunity for small and medium size farm operators and food entrepreneurs to provide input on food safety and how regulations affect them.
The forums are hosted by Michigan Food & Farming Systems (MIFFS) with funding from the Michigan Department of Agriculture in order to learn more about perceptions and experiences of food safety regulations and discover if and how regulations have constrained the viability of small food businesses. Pre-registration is requested; you can register by clicking the "Register now" links below or at
These forums will take place throughout the month of March at the following locations:
·         March 2, 2011 from 6 – 8 p.m. at the NEW Center,1100 N. Main St., Ann Arbor
o    Register now
·         March 9, 2011 from 6 – 8 p.m.  at the Portage Public Library, 300 Library Lane, Portage
o    Register now
·         March 15, 2011 from 9 – 11 a.m. at Michigan State University (MSU) Extension - Bay County, 515 Center Ave., Bay City
o    Register now
·         March 25, 2011 from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. at MSU Extension - Mecosta County, 14485 Northland Dr., Big Rapids
o    Register now
·         March 30, 2011 from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. at Holiday Inn, 1201 W. Main St., Gaylord
o    Register now
For further details, contact Jenifer Buckley, Project Manager, at or (517) 355-5962. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Do You Spend Time Keeping Your Files in Sync?

Syncing files from one computer to another used to be a constant task in my work flow. Sometimes it created annoying workflow bottlenecks. 

If you need to have copies of the same files on different computers,you simply have to try out This amazing free service lets you keep multiple computers in sync so seamlessly that you will forget about it.

I used to move files back and forth with USB drives. I have a drawerful of USB drives and a couple of portable hard drives that are obsolete. Instead, Dropbox creates a special folder called "Dropbox." Anything put in that folder gets magically synchronized to Dropbox's servers, and then downloaded to the other selected machines automatically. It is not intended as a backup service, but the files are stored on the Dropbox server and the multiple machines. Even better, it is cross-platform and works on PCs, Macs, iPads, and even smartphones.

Dropbox totally changed my workflow for the better. Try it out. If you use my affiliate code by using this link, you'll get an extra 250Mb of DropBox storage for free: nealfortin_dropbox_link. The 2GB account is free. Give it a shot. It is awesome!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

"Food Safety Research in FDA: Collected Stories" Seminar on February 16, 2011

Mary Lou Tortorello, Ph.D., Chief, Food Technology Branch, NCFST/FDA will be presenting a seminar on Wednesday, February 16, 2011, 4:00 p.m. in 1135 S. Anthony Hall, Michigan State University.  Her presentation "Food Safety Research in FDA:  Collected Stories" is part of the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition Spring Seminar Series.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Food Labeling: Where Science, Health, and Policy Meet

On February 9, Barbara Schneeman,Ph.D. Director, Office of Nutrition, Labeling, and Dietary Supplements, CFSAN-FDA, will present the lecture, "Food Labeling: Where Science, Health, and Policy Meet." The location is 105 East Fee Hall, Michigan State University. The time is 4:00 pm.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

AFDO Scholarship Awards

The following qualifications have been established for the award recipients: The recipients should have demonstrated a desire to serve in a career of research, regulatory work, quality control, or teaching in an area related to some aspect of food, drugs, or consumer product safety; should have demonstrated leadership capabilities; and must have at least a 3.0 grade average during the first two years of undergraduate study on a scale of 4.0.

To apply, in addition to completing an application, an official and complete college transcript must be submitted along with letters of recommendation from two faculty members.  It is necessary to use the official AFDO Scholarship Award application. This form is available on AFDO's Scholarship Award Web page.

The applications must be returned to the Awards Chair by February 1, 2011, to be considered.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Foodie Movies in the Middle” film series

What: An MSU film series all about FOOD!  

When: Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12:00 noon – 12:45 pm, January-April (between the 2 sections of HNF150).  A tentative schedule, which will be updated, is listed below.

Where: 1281 Anthony Hall

Jan 18 (T): Super Size Me (first half)
Jan 20 (Th): Super Size Me (second half)

Jan 25 (T):  King Corn (first half)
Jan 27 (Th): King Corn (second half)

Feb 1 (T): Asparagus – Stalking the American Life (first half)
Feb 3 (Th): Asparagus – Stalking the American Life (second half) &
    What will we Eat: The Search for Healthy Local Food 

Feb 8: NO FILM
This series is free and open to the MSU community. 
(Future dates will be posted)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Michigan Sea Grant Fellowships

Applicants for three fellowship programs are being accepted from graduate students with a wide range of backgrounds (science, policy, law) and strong interest in Great Lakes, coastal or marine issues. The deadline is February 1, 2011. Web Site:

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