In the past few years, there has been an increasing awareness and concern about the food we eat and how food production and consumption affect public health, the environment and national security. As a result food safety concerns have continued to grow and this has brought about the introduction of new laws including the Food Safety Modernization Act. The standards of food safety are established by laws and regulations and as old laws are amended and new laws are being introduced the area of food laws and regulation has expanded and become an important topic within the food industry. Therefore, it is imperative that as a Food Science department we adapt to some of these changes.
In light of this, during the Spring quarter of 2017, our department debuted a Food Laws and Regulations class. The course will be offered again by Professors Bwalya Lungu and Ned Spang. Now in its second year, the course seeks to provide students with a broad understanding of the food regulation landscape to help prepare them for future careers in the food industry. Some core components of the curriculum include:
- an introduction to how food laws and regulations affect the agricultural and food communities;
- an overview of the food regulatory agencies that are tasked with keeping our nation's food supply safe from microbial, physical and chemical contamination; and,
- a review of food labeling and food additive regulations, as well as discussions about how various agencies address food-related health claims.
The course will be expanded from 2 to 3 credits to accommodate additional lectures for deeper exploration of the core topics. As in the first year, instruction will include multiple invited guest lecturers from high-level representatives of key regulatory agencies, including FDA, USDA, CDFA, and CDPH, to name a few. Based on enrollment in its first year and the positive reviews received from the initial cohort, we expect approximately 20 upper-level undergraduate and graduate students to sign up for the class this Spring.