MENOMONIE — One in six Americans, or roughly 48 million every year, get sick from foodborne illnesses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Of those who become ill, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die.
“It is important to detect pathogens to provide safe food and water and to prevent cross-contamination of foodborne diseases,” said Taejo Kim, UW-Stout assistant professor in the department of food and nutrition.
Kim recently taught the Furthering Food Safety Workshop at the university.
“Food safety workshop training is a win-win situation, protecting both the processors and consumers,” he said.
The workshop, May 22-24, was aimed at small- to medium-size businesses to learn easy, rapid microbiological techniques for isolating and enumerating microorganisms of public health concern such as listeria, salmonella, E. coli and vibrio.
Along with Kim, who manages food microbiology labs and teaches food science courses including food microbiology and quality at UW-Stout, the workshop was led by Josiah Ray, lab manager for the biology and chemistry/physics departments at UW-Stout.
Those attending also learned how to test water quality using filtration methods. The workshop is planned again on Tuesday, July 17, to Thursday, July 19. For more information visit uwstout.edu/outreach-engagement.
Bill Rufenacht, who works in technical sales and service at Dairy Connection in Madison, was one of eight participants in the workshop.
Rufenacht, who has a bacteriology degree from UW-Madison, said he learned a lot about lab techniques and the newer rapid testing methods, which did not exist when he was in school.
Dairy Connection supplies ingredients to specialty, farmstead and small- to mid-size cheese and fermented milk manufacturers nationwide, according to the company’s website.
“Dairy Connection serves a number of ‘farmstead’ and ‘artisan’ cheese and yogurt makers around the country,” Rufenacht said. “We supply them with starter cultures and coagulants and offer technical service regarding using those products in their processes.”
Dairy farmers work daily, Rufenacht said, and “part of our company’s mission is to act as a resource for our customers that may need assistance keeping up to speed in these areas.”
Rufenacht said he was impressed by the amount of material covered in the course.
“I thought we covered more material at a greater depth than I would have expected, which was great for me. The course was pretty intense from beginning to end.”