It is one thing to respond to a disaster quite another to anticipate, prepare for and prevent its occurrence, contends Dr. Adesoji Adelaja, newly selected Executive Dean of Cook College and the New Jersey Agriculture Experiment Station, (NJAES), Rutgers. Our past history with alar on apples, contaminated strawberries from Chile and e coli in hamburger meat pinpointed our vulnerability. We are little more prepared today for accidental introduction of foodborne pathogens or chemicals. Faced with intentional tampering, our system would fail.
Adelaja today announced an effort to shore up these weaknesses in New Jersey and build a model of private-government-academic cooperation that other states might follow. New Jersey is a leading food distribution hub for the Northeast, stated Dr. Richard Merritt, director of the Food Systems Professional Education Initiative for the Mid-Atlantic Consortium, funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and 10 colleges and universities (MAC). New Jersey plays a key role in the regions $277 billion food industry, where a high concentration of national and international food companies make their headquarters. It is natural for Rutgers agricultural and natural resources college and its network of experiment stations to take leadership in this issue.
Adelaja said that the Food & Agriculture Biosecurity Initiative would have several central themes. First it would assess vulnerability of and determine priority early warning surveillance points for the food supply from farm to table. It would create a war
Contact: Michele Hujber
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey