Food Safety

Institutional Expertise

Dr. Leslie Bourquin


Dr. Leslie Bourquin is a professor and Extension food safety specialist with Michigan State University's Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition. His research topics include dietary carbohydrate sources and their influence on colon cancer development, as well as the influence of food safety assurance programs on the incidence and concentrations of biological and chemical hazards in apple cider. He also studies food safety risk governance and policy development, and the impact of public and private food safety standards on hazard incidence. As an Extension food safety specialist, he has conducted trainings on food safety management systems, good manufacturing practices, hygiene and sanitation, good agricultural practices, and food safety programs in Southeast Asia (India, Vietnam, China, Malaysia), Africa and the United States.

Dr. Deepa Thiagarajan


Dr. Thiagarajan is the director of Global Agri-Food Standards and Value Chain Programs in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Michigan State University. Thiagarajan's global agri-food systems development work focuses on capacity building in food and agricultural standards, primarily on food safety and quality requirements, SPS measures, international regulations, value chains and market access for agricultural commodities in developing countries. She has managed several food and agriculture value chain development projects funded by USAID, WTO, World Bank, UN agencies and other organizations in India, Thailand, Vietnam, China, Malaysia, Rwanda, Malawi and other countries. Thiagarajan has participated in the development and implementation of the MSU-led Food Safety Knowledge Network project since 2008. She provides leadership to additional international development programs on nutrition, health and agriculture linkages at MSU.

Dr. Bradley Marks

Marks 2014_0

Dr. Bradley Marks was an assistant and associate professor at the University of Arkansas prior to joining MSU in 1999. He currently leads an interdisciplinary research team focused on food safety engineering, particularly microbial inactivation modeling and improving methods for validating pasteurization processes for ready-to-eat foods. His research program has been continuously funded by competitive federal grants for over 18 years, in addition to numerous funded projects and partnerships with industry associations and individual companies. Marks has received numerous teaching awards at the department, university, and national level. He has served as the Biosystems Engineering Undergraduate Program Coordinator for more than ten years. He currently leads the MSU Food Safety Group, an interdisciplinary group of faculty focused on microbial food safety.

Dr. David Tschirley

David Tschirley

Dr. David Tschirley is Professor, International Development in the Department of Food, Agricultural, and Resource Economics at Michigan State University, and Co-Director of the department’s Food Security Group. He has over 20 years of experience in applied food security research, mentoring of developing country researchers, and active policy outreach.  His work emphasizes three main areas: 1) agrifood system transformation in Africa focusing on diet change and its implications over a range of policy and programmatic issues, including employment, midstream and upstream change, and nutrition; 2) the intersection of food aid, staple food markets, and emergency response, including extensive work on monetization, local and regional food aid procurement, and the role of food trade and government policy in emergency response, and 3) institutional approaches to linking smallholder farmers to cash crop markets such as cotton and fresh produce.  He is the author of over 20 journal articles, several book chapters, one edited book volume, and dozens of working papers and policy briefs.  Dr.  Tschirley has consulted for and otherwise served the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N., InterAmerican Development Bank, International Fund for Agricultural Development, The MasterCard Foundation, USAID, World Bank, and World Food Program.  Fluent in Spanish and Portuguese, Dr. Tschirley has had long-term assignments in Ecuador (1987-1990) and Mozambique (1995-98) and works most actively now in East and Southern Africa.

Dr. Felicia Wu


Dr. Felicia Wu, John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor, joined the faculty of Michigan State University in 2013, with a tenured joint appointment in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition and the Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics. Previously, she was an Associate Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health at University of Pittsburgh. In 2014 Felicia was named Director of the new MSU Center for Health Impacts of Agriculture, which is funded in part by the National Institutes of Health, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, USAID and USDA. Wu’s research interests lie at the intersection of global health, agriculture, and trade. Using the tools of mathematical modeling, health economics, and quantitative risk assessment, she examines how agricultural systems affect health in different parts of the world. For her research on the impact of aflatoxin regulations on global liver cancer, she was awarded a National Institutes of Health EUREKA Award.

Institutional Capacity

Food Safety Knowledge Network

The Food Safety Knowledge Network (FSKN) is a joint initiative of Michigan State University and the Global Food Safety Initiative, with the specific aims to: 1) develop internationally recognized competencies in relation to food safety for individuals at all levels and in all sectors of the food supply chain, and 2) promote knowledge transfer within the food safety community. FSKN is international in scope and offers a platform whereby food safety professionals can assess and improve their knowledge and skills relative to a multi-level food safety competency framework established by an expert panel of professionals drawn from both the private and public sectors.

Center for Health Impacts of Agriculture

The Center for Health Impacts of Agriculture (CHIA) brings together the MSU colleges of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Human Medicine, Osteopathic Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, and Natural Science, as well as MSU AgBioResearch, the provost’s office and the Office of the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies. CHIA research focuses on three pathways by which agriculture affects human health. The first is through nutrition, and diversity of food. Economics also plays a pivotal role, particularly in underdeveloped areas where resources are at a premium. Finally, CHIA explores the unintended negative consequences of agriculture on human health and the environment.

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