iFoodDS Collaborates with Cornell on Developing Future Food Safety Professionals
By iFoodDS Team
February 22, 2021
iFoodDS is collaborating with Cornell University to advance professional opportunities for future food safety professionals through an internship program. This program is supported by a grant to Cornell from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) program, entitled “A system Approach to Microbial Food Safety in Produce: Leveraging Data Science Approaches to Inform Food Safety Decisions.” This is a multi-layered grant to help advance continuous food safety improvements throughout the supply chain.
The internship program is designed to provide technical and systems-based produce safety on-the-job training and complements the curriculum modules Cornell is developing for graduate and undergraduate students on produce safety.
iFoodDS’ role is to place an intern in a company fitting their interest and the produce company’s needs as well as mentor them after placement. iFoodDS works with food companies throughout the country to secure internship positions.
Students determine how they would like to apply their knowledge. They select whether they would like to work onsite in a food production environment or help develop or enhance software tools focused on identifying and addressing potential food safety risks.
“The simple fact is our industry has a shortage of food safety professionals. We want to do our part to provide tangible experience for our future professionals so they can have an immediate and positive impact when they begin their careers,” says Diane Wetherington, Executive Chair of the iFoodDS Board of Directors and a member of Cornell’s Industry Advisory Committee. Wetherington explains that increasing food safety professionals’ understanding on how to apply new research and study findings, like those from the Center for Produce Safety efforts, in the real world environment will be critical as we work to improve food safety.
“We need the best food safety minds combined with the best experience to implement and refine food safety solutions,” Wetherington explains. “iFoodDS takes great pride in our participation in this important program and looks forward to watching these interns grow and progress and make their mark on this industry.”