sealPurdue Food Safety Experts

Consumer economics

Joseph N. Uhl

Professor and Extension specialist, agricultural economics
(765) 494-4219

A market economist, he can discuss the effects of food safety issues on food marketing costs, food supplies and other consumer issues. Research interests include economics of food consumption, strategic marketing and food policy. Has several teaching awards, publications and international experiences.

Consumer education

Willela D. (Willie) Burgess

Extension specialist, foods and nutrition
(765) 494-8186

Specializes in food safety education for adults and youths, and in emergency feeding programs. Says consumers can greatly reduce risk of food poisoning by learning to spot mishandled food in grocery stores and restaurants and by learning to handle food properly at home. Has contributed to numerous educational materials and programs, such as "Safe Food for the Hungry," a national teleconference.

Hazard analysis for food processors and retailers

Richard H. Linton

Assistant professor and Extension specialist, food science
(765) 494-6481

Works with processors to help them ensure food safety at every step. Develops materials for and conducts training on Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) programs, which identify critical points where contamination could occur in processing plants and retail food establishments. Is co-author of "Essentials of Food Safety & Sanitation" and other publications. Conducts training for Indiana food operators certification exam.

Irradiation and education

April C. Mason

Professor and Extension specialist, foods and nutrition
Assistant director, Cooperative Extension
(765) 494-8252

Says irradiation is little used and a lot misunderstood, but it can destroy microorganisms responsible for food-borne illness and extend the shelf life of perishable foods. Believes consumers will accept food irradiation when they learn about it and taste irradiated foods. Also works with food safety information and education for consumers, including adults, youths and not-for-profit food assistance staff and volunteers. One research interest is food safety as it relates to public health and education.

Mad cow disease

H. Leon Thacker

Professor, veterinary pathology
Director, Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory
(765) 494-7460

Says there are a number of reasons why American consumers are at minimal to no risk of being exposed to "mad cow disease' when eating meat from American cattle. Chief among them is that "mad cow disease" has never been found in the United States, and the import of British cattle (some of which are infected with the disease) has been banned in this country since 1989. Routine surveillance of U.S. cattle for the occurrence of the disease has been conducted since 1989 and none has been found. Has done research on swine digestive and respiratory diseases and written more than 100 articles on animal disease and diagnostics.


John C. Forrest

Professor, food science and animal sciences
(765) 494-8283

Specializes in meat product evaluation and improvement. Can discuss irradiation of meat, the Pathogen Reduction Act, and proposals before the Senate Ag Committee. Works closely with Richard Linton (see "Hazard analysis") on food safety issues related to meat. Research interest is in development of technology used to determine meat quality and composition in carcass. Has written several journal articles.


Michael M. Schutz

Extension specialist, animal sciences
(765) 494-8007

Has a special interest in improving disease resistance in dairy cattle and milk quality for consumers. Current research focuses on udder health; other research interests include health traits in breeding programs. Has contributed numerous articles to Journal of Dairy Science.


Fred Whitford

Coordinator, Purdue Pesticide Programs
(765) 494-1284

Can discuss what residue numbers on food actually mean. Also can address toxicity and risk assessment. Makes presentations and contributes to publications and newsletters for general public, industry, university and regulatory personnel.

Gerald E. Shively

Assistant professor, agricultural economics
(765) 494-4218

Works on issues related to agriculture and the environment. Interests include water quality issues, pesticide regulation and consumer food safety concerns. Researches environmental and natural resources economics with emphasis on land degradation and natural resources use under uncertainty. Has international experience and several publications.

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; e-mail,

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