June 18, 2018

Foodborne disease prevention next topic for Science on Tap

Haley Oliver Haley Oliver, associate professor of food science for Purdue University’s College of Agriculture. (Purdue University photo) Download image

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University’s Haley Oliver, an associate professor of food science, will lead the next session of Science on Tap this Thursday (June 21) in a discussion about foodborne diseases and how to reduce risk of exposure.

“I want people to know the difference between food safety and quality - they are different - and to know that slimy lettuce won’t kill you,” Oliver said. “There are strategies you can use to prevent disease, and in the United States we still have the safest food supply in the world even though it seems like there is a constant crisis.”

Her talk “No One Likes Diarrhea: Improving Food Safety From Grocery Stores to Afghanistan” will be held at 6 p.m. on the top floor of Lafayette Brewing Company, 622 Main St., Lafayette. The free, informal talk is open to those who are 21 and older.

Oliver will discuss the big picture of foodborne disease outbreak and prevention in the United States and share findings from her research in food safety and retail grocery. She leads the Oliver Food Safety Laboratory at Purdue in developing food safety technology in Afghanistan, and studies the infrastructure of retail groceries and its practices.

Oliver’s work examines food safety perception through a multi-angle approach to identifying and solving problems related to foodborne pathogens. In addition to her discussion of foodborne disease trends in the United States, Oliver will highlight Purdue’s College of Agriculture and their efforts to improve the world’s food safety and security.

She also plans to mention new research on climate change and its effects on foodborne pathogens “by people who are much cooler than me,” she said. As ocean temperatures increase and organisms flourish in warmer waters, food scientists see an impact on aquaculture - and an increase in contaminated seafood.

Oliver is a graduate of Cornell University and holds a doctorate in food science. She is an award-winning educator who teaches courses in food microbiology and food plant sanitation for Purdue’s College of Agriculture. Her lab is famous for being home to the largest data set for listeria and salmonella prevalence in retail grocery. Oliver recently received Purdue’s 2018 Charles B. Murphy Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award.

Science on Tap, led by graduate students Elizabeth Phillips, Matthew Pharris and Paula Cooper, provides Purdue faculty and collaborating researchers the opportunity to share research activities in an informal setting with presentations designed to appeal to a more general audience. Attendance at the event has averaged 80 during the program’s first five years.

Writer: Sarah Olson, 760-419-9222, seolson@purdue.edu

Source: Haley F. Oliver, 765-491-4775, hfoliver@purdue.edu

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