Summary of Awards to Date

Mainstream ethnic foods of concern to the U.S. marketplace and their impact on food safety.

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Date

Sep. 1, 2008 - Aug. 31, 2011

Award Number

HAW00816-G

Funding Agency

USDA - CSREES

Amount Awarded

$487,619.00

Investigator

Aurora A. Saulo, Ph.D.
University of Hawaii

Co-Investigator(s)

Gelfius, A., Wong, L., Tsukanda, J., Botti, R., Chew, G.

Summary

There is very little published information in the scientific literature on the safety of ethnic foods in the U.S. and specifically, ethnic foods that are now found in American mainstream cuisine (we call these "mainstream ethnic foods"). Much of the publicly accessible information has been developed by and is in the possession of food inspectors. Other information is available but access is restricted because they are private properties. Since the demand for new ethnic foods will continue and the American consumer will most likely purchase them in a restaurant or a retail food store, food establishments will continue to influence the wholesomeness and safety of these foods. There is a critical need for science-based information on the safety of ethnic foods. To address this need, the Project Collaborators aim to conduct an online survey of federal, state, local, and tribal food inspectors to identify publicly accessible information on ethnic foods of concern to the US Marketplace. Results of the survey will then be used (1) to identify current mainstream ethnic foods; (2) to identify food safety concerns on these mainstream ethnic foods and recommended solutions, if any; (3) to identify or propose the scientific basis of the recommended food safety solutions on selected mainstream ethnic foods of concern to the US marketplace through laboratory analyses; (4) to integrate the results in current food science and nutrition undergraduate and graduate courses, including Special Topics, Directed Reading and Research, and Food Safety; and (5) to disseminate all results by conducting one-day workshops for food inspectors, food association members, and other food handlers and by posting on a visible location on the web.