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Highlighting the Food Safety Education Team Successes

Last fall, the Food Safety Education Team joined Family Development and I want to highlight some important successes that they recently had.

The Food Safety Education team is led by Katherine Waters and works closely with Joelle Friertag, an Extension specialist in Food Science and Nutrition. Four Extension educators currently work on the program team: Deb Botzek-Linn, Kathy Brandt, Suzanne Driessen, and Glenyce Vangsness-Peterson. Connie Schwartau serves as coordinator for the team.

The team has made available a new set of teaching materials: Freezing Fruits and Vegetables for Later Uses. These training materials are designed as a self-training option or to use to teach others. View the leader's guide and follow the instructions at

The team recently updated the Serve It Up Safely Food Manager Renewal food safety online course, which celebrated its 10th year anniversary this year. The course has been updated to meet new food code regulations, food safety research and Quality Matters standards. Thanks to Suzanne Driessen, Katherine Waters, Connie Schwartau, Shari Schmidt, Heather Lee, and Ruth Ellis and for their efforts on transforming the course!

A seed grant of $10,000 from Global One Health Partnerships to Advance Local to Global Food and Nutrition Security has been awarded for the proposal "Structuring Food Safety Training for Success: A Somali Language, Culture, and Career Project in Minnesota".

The team consists of: Dr. Kendra Kauppi, Food Science and Nutrition, Role Project Coordinator; Glenyce Peterson Vangsness, Extension Educator, Role Curriculum Development Specialist; Ms. Fardowza Omar, Health Inspector, City of Minneapolis Health Department, Role Regulatory Specialist and Somali Community Liaison; Abdirahman Kahin, Owner and Operator, Afro Deli and Catering, Role Liaison to the Somali Business and Food Production Community.

The project will develop a working relationship with the Somali community. Working with the community, they will design, implement, and evaluate a culturally appropriate and customized food safety training program. The data obtained from this pilot project will serve as the basis to apply for additional funding to build a more robust state or multi-state project.

We also applaud Suzanne Driessen who recently received the Mid-Career Service award from Epsilon Sigma Phi North Central Region. See

The team also works with colleagues in other centers to delivery high impact programs. Earlier this month, 65 high school students attended the University on the Prairie Science Day Camp at the Southwest Research and Outreach Center (SWROC) August 6-8. Annie Doberstein, University of Minnesota graduate student in food science, along with Extension educators Mary Schroeder and Kelly Kunkel in Health and Nutrition, Carrie Olson and Dianne Derrick in Youth Development, and Kathy Brandt, Food Safety, provided students with hands-on activities for the food science program track.

Students learned about phytonutrients (chemicals in plant products that have health benefits) and the role they have in cancer prevention. Students were also introduced to food science careers, and they gained knowledge and skills to make healthier food choices for their growing bodies and minds.

To learn more about the Food Safety Education team, go to their website at:

Karen Shirer
Associate Dean

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