The Health, Science, Technology and Policy graduate program at Carleton hosted its first evening public lecture this year, just yesterday (Sept 19th). Dr. Felicia Wu, the John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Michigan State University, delivered a very exciting and interesting lecture entitled: “Improving food safety: what we can learn from public health and control of infectious diseases.” The purpose of Dr. Wu’s visit to Ottawa was twofold. She was also part of a very successful Joint Special Meeting of The Toxicology Forum & Regulatory Governance Initiative, entitled: “Mycotoxins – unavoidable natural contaminants in staple crops: Public health and international trade.”
Dr. Wu’s public lecture was really about the lessons we can learn from the celebrated successes and abject failures of interventions to improve human health. Much of the talk focused on recounting lessons learned (or missed) from general and specific case studies of interventions used to control infectious diseases. There is both a historical and geographical scope to Dr. Wu’s research. Dr. Wu explained how prenatal care, vaccination programs, sanitation programs, judicious antibiotic use, etc. have reduced mortality and morbidity rates from infectious diseases, highlighting the innovative social and biomedical approaches to smallpox eradication. Some of those lessons could be applied to controlling fungal infections in nut and cereal crops and mycotoxin impacts on human health and the economy. Both the Joint Special meeting and the public lecture were concerned with such threats from contaminated food crops, largely in developing nations. This is an area ripe for risk-sensible regulation.
Professor & student