Kansas State researchers received a $760,000 grant from the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Safety to help protect against foodborne diseases and increase food safety awareness in Cambodia.
The team, composed of researchers from K-State, Pennsylvania State University, Purdue University and Cambodia, will focus on the vegetable chain in Cambodia to reduce the prevalence of foodborne pathogens.
Jessie Vipham, assistant professor in animal sciences and industry and principal investigator on the grant, sees the project as an opportunity to expand access to safe food for all.
“From my personal perspective, I view food safety and the right to have safe food as a basic human right,” Vipham said. “When you think about a lot of the diseases that are associated with foodborne disease, they’re largely preventable and we have a lot of the technology and science and understanding to prevent foodborne disease.”
The project will last three and a half years and be a team effort between the U.S. and Cambodian researchers.
“This is really a collective research project that is meant to be country led and focus on questions that Cambodians thought were important,” Vipham said. “We’ve been given an opportunity to collaborate and work in a team atmosphere on a project that will develop food safety systems for Cambodia with Cambodia as major project partners.”
Valentina Trinetta, assistant professor in food safety and microbiology and researcher on the grant, said increasing knowledge about food safety will help protect Cambodians from the harmful diseases.
“Food safety in developing countries is very much linked to food insecurity, so improving the education in those countries might help to educate and save a lot of children that are mainly affected by food insecurity,” Trinetta said. “That will help them not to be developing anymore, but to advance faster.”