Experts propose steps to ease food safety info flow

first_img The study was produced by the Food Safety Research Consortium (FSRC), a group of university-based research institutions, based at the University of Florida in Gainesville, that is working on initiatives to improve the nation’s food safety system. The group’s projects include the development of analytical and decision tools to help guide interventions and resource allocation. The new report was funded by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Assess the costs and benefits of proposed changes The report lists several examples of shortcomings in the food safety information system. It says that government and industry lack research plans on how to address contamination in produce and that planning for the FoodNet system, which collects foodborne illness data, has not involved food-industry risk managers. Analyzing information gaps May 22, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – A team of food safety researchers, flanked by federal, state, and industry officials, today unveiled a sweeping report on how food safety information is shared and called for new federal policies to make the system more transparent and useful. “For all actors in the food safety system—public and private—the effectiveness of what they do depends on the quality of the information they have on potential hazards and how to minimize them,” the FSRC noted in the report’s introduction. Authors of the report are Michael Taylor, professor of health policy at George Washington University, and Michael Batz, executive director of the FSRC and head of food safety programs at the University of Florida’s Emerging Pathogens Institute in Gainesville. Prioritizing information needs Establishing a gateway Web site that could connect the network of food safety databases If government agencies and the food industry could somehow pool their data on chemical and microbial contamination, “this data would provide a much more robust picture of the nature and distribution of hazards across the food supply than we have today,” the authors wrote. To support more information sharing, stakeholders need incentives and the federal government should take a lead role to establish policy changes, Taylor and Batz asserted. Though some federal legislative proposals call for putting all federal food safety functions in one agency, the authors said their suggestions don’t depend on that reform measure, because such unification wouldn’t solve all of the information-sharing problems. “The need for improvement extends well beyond federal agencies,” they wrote. Taylor and Batz concluded that though there are no quick cure-alls for improving the flow of food safety information, they are buoyed by stakeholders’ high interest in removing some of the roadblocks. Taylor and Batz based their evaluation of the nation’s food safety information systems on the results of four workshops that were attended by public health and food safety experts, government officials, industry representatives, researchers, and consumers. “We believe that lasting solutions must respect these institutional realities and must include mechanisms that facilitate diverse institutions working together in new ways,” they wrote. Seek regular input from all food safety participants Identify legislative changes needed to ease the flow of information The report suggests establishing a food safety information system council, housed in the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), composed of senior food safety officials from key federal agencies and state and local departments. With a budget of $25 million the council would: See also: Launching a food safety epidemiology user group to ensure that data from publicly funded epidemiology efforts are accessible and timely Prioritize, plan, and coordinate actions to improve the collection and flow of food safety information Compiling a database of past and future food safety research activities However, Taylor and Batz wrote that much of the food safety information system is in “stove pipes” that are isolated and inaccessible to other users. They attribute the fragmentation to a variety of causes, including regulatory constraints, intellectual property concerns, and a variety of funding sources. They also found that food safety agencies are overburdened with competing priorities and responsibilities. Food Safety Research Consortium report on improving the nation’s food safety information infrastructure Easing access to industry food safety information Increasing access to information from publicly funded food safety research In addition, the report calls for a food safety information system stakeholder forum that would advise the new council and help implement new initiatives such as: More effective communication between food safety groups is need to ensure safety and reduce risks, since food production and distribution over the past decades have become increasingly complex, the authors wrote. At the same time, technology for collecting, managing, and sharing data has also advanced and has the potential to improve food safety, they said. Report annually to Congress The 129-page report, Harnessing Knowledge to Ensure Food Safety: Opportunities to Improve the Nation’s Food Safety Information Infrastructure, was released at a briefing at George Washington University in Washington, DC, and is available on the group’s Web site.last_img read more

IHOC : SU defenders bring scoring punch to offensive attack

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Paul Flanagan pushed his defenders to join the offensive rush all last week in practice.And with Syracuse trailing Clarkson 2-1 last Friday, the SU head coach’s strategy paid off. Freshman defender Kaillie Goodnough crept forward into the neutral zone, collected a loose puck at the point and blasted a shot through traffic that found its way past the Clarkson goaltender for her first career goal.‘We’re trying to encourage that, defensively trying to rush up when we can,’ Flanagan said after the game Friday. ‘The exchange of puck between defense and offense is very important. We’re getting consistent now with sustaining some pressure on teams.’SU’s defense is focused on bringing that same offensive aggression when the Orange (2-4, 0-0 College Hockey America) takes on Colgate (2-2, 0-0 ECAC Women’s Hockey League) on Wednesday at 7 p.m. Flanagan and the newly improved defense will try to lead SU to a victory over its in-state rival in the first game of a five-game homestand at Tennity Ice Pavilion.Until last season, Colgate was the more successful team in head-to-head matchups, holding a 3-0 edge in the all-time series. But the Orange notched its first win against the Raiders with a 4-3 victory on Nov. 23, 2010.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textTo start a streak of its own in the series, Syracuse will rely on its defense to keep the Colgate offense in check and to add some scoring punch.It starts with stopping Colgate forward Brittany Phillips, who is tied for first in the nation with 2.5 points per game. SU will need to play with the same physicality it did against Clarkson. The Orange didn’t allow the Golden Knights’ forwards much space to skate around and make plays.‘We tried to play them really physical on the body and weren’t allowing them any space,’ SU forward Margot Scharfe said Friday.The Orange must also get its defense involved in the offense again.In practice, Flanagan continued to stress commanding the neutral zone to his defenders. The coaching staff placed a large emphasis on having the defensive players push into offensive zone, leading to more shots and an increased time of attack.That tactic will benefit the Syracuse power play, which struggled against Clarkson in game two of the series on Saturday. The Orange only managed six shots on five power-play opportunities.When defenders creep closer into the neutral zone, the offense has a better chance of spreading the puck, which is a huge relief for forwards like senior captain Megan Skelly.‘The defense jumping in the play helps a lot because it gives us more possession and better shots,’ Skelly said. ‘If the puck comes squirting out and the defense is there, we can keep possession for three minutes compared to 30 seconds.’On power-play opportunities, it isn’t easy to attack the net. With defenders rushing the offensive zone, they create more outside shots and more chances to put back rebounds, junior Jacquie Greco said.And Flanagan is confident in the ability of his defenders to be cognizant at all times on the ice. Flanagan wants most Orange defenders to consider themselves forwards on the attack. The players must pick and choose when to be aggressive and when to stay back on defense.Goodnough and senior defender Taylor Metcalfe found that balance last Friday against Clarkson.Metcalfe was all over the ice, tallying three shots in the third period while limiting the Clarkson forwards to just four shots. And Goodnough scored her first career goal to even the score 2-2.Right now, the Orange just needs a win after getting swept by Clarkson last weekend. And that starts with the play of the defense.‘If the opposition has to worry about the defender jumping into the play, that’s going to free up one of our forwards,’ Flanagan said. ‘Hopefully that will give them a little more time and space to make plays.’awmirmin@syr.edu Published on October 18, 2011 at 12:00 pmcenter_img Commentslast_img read more