Chicago Council on Science and Technology Presents “Is This Safe To Eat?” Seminar

The Chicago Council on Science and Technology presents its “Is This Safe To Eat” seminar at 6 pm on Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at the Northwestern University Downtown Campus Hughes Auditorium located at 303 East Superior. The program will feature Robert Brackett, IIT Vice President and Director of the Institute for Food Safety and Health and Eric Larson, President of Safe Food International Holdings.

Salmonella in chicken. E coli in spinach. Listeria in hot dogs. Outbreaks of foodborne illness can affect large and small numbers of the population, and have dire consequences. The safety of the food supply has emerged as an important and complex global public health, social, and political issue. Recent estimates published by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that as many as 48 million cases of foodborne illness are contracted in the U.S. each year, resulting in 3,000 deaths. The economic toll of these illnesses is estimated to be as high as $150 billion per year.

Trust, or lack thereof, in the safety of the food supply has impacted global agricultural and food trade and led to regulatory changes in several countries, including China, Canada, and the U.S. While past efforts to protect the safety of the food supply were primarily reactive in nature, a new philosophy has emerged that puts more emphasis on prevention. Innovative technologies can be used to more accurately identify potential hazards, minimize adulterated products reaching consumers, and more quickly and accurately reach food processors with the most current scientific and regulatory information.

Come hear about the latest in food safety, such as whole genome sequencing, which can identify those products that have the greatest risk of being contaminated, and intervention technologies such as high pressure processing, pulsed light, and treatment with cool plasma, all of which can aid in the fight against bacteria in foods.

With nearly 30 years of experience in scientific research in industry, government and academia, Brackett most recently served as senior vice president and chief science and regulatory officer for the Washington D.C.-based Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA).  He also served as director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (FDA CFSAN), after starting there as a senior microbiologist.

Larson, also a managing partner with Linden LLC, is a director of The National Food Laboratories and its parent holding company, Safe Foods International Holdings, and a board member of the Nutrition Roundtable at the Harvard School of Public Health, the Institute for Food Safety and Health at the Illinois Institute of Technology and Illinois Venture Capital Association.

Registration for the seminar begins at 5 pm. Admission for C2ST members and students is free; non-members is $20. Discounted parking will be made available to the first 50 attendees (ask at check-in desk. To register, visit For more information, call 312.567.5795 or email