Purdue University awarded $10M for new food science lab

600 Million people across the world have suffered from major foodborne illnesses and 420,000 deaths occur because of them, according to Purdue University Associate Professor Haley Oliver.

Posted: Aug 13, 2019 6:35 PM
Updated: Aug 14, 2019 6:34 AM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — A $10 million grant was awarded to Purdue University to help establish a first of its kind lab. Purdue University Associate Professor Haley Oliver says 600 million people across the world have suffered from major foodborne illnesses, and something needs to be done about it. 

"The likelihood that someone hasn't had a foodborne illness in their lifetime is extremely low, even though we have the safest food in the world here in the United States," said Oliver. "We see it both in a human wellness capacity but also an economic capacity to try to reduce foodborne illnesses."

Purdue University Food Science Head Brian Farkas said the goal of the new Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Safety is to help countries with developing economies understand food safety and try to help prevent illnesses.

"Teaching them to teach," Farkas said. "So, this new innovation lab is focused on teaching food safety so that they can then teach in their countries and improve the food system."

The team will be comprised of multiple Purdue professors, scientists, engineers and a Cornell University professor. Oliver said she believes Purdue will be able to grow from this grant.

"We put together a very compelling case that we are the institution that can shepherd these funds and invest them well in food safety development around the world," said Oliver.

Oliver said they were shocked and pleasantly surprised Purdue was chosen for this grant.

"What an honor to be chosen to make some of these decisions," said Oliver. "These are taxpayer dollars. You want someone who cares deeply and I think everyone on our team would agree we understand and will try to get as much real estate out of those investments as possible."

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