Paula Fedorka-Cray, a USDA researcher from Georgia, has been honored for her efforts to improve food safety in the United States.

At last week's 2004 Pork Quality and Safety Summit, the National Pork Board’s Pork Safety Committee paid tribute to Fedorka-Cray. Specifically, they cited her contributions to pork safety through work as director of the animal sector of the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System, and for her work in developing the Collaboration for Animal Health and Food Safety Epidemiology.

NARMS has provided valuable information on the amount of, and changes in, antimicrobial resistance in bacteria in animals, humans and food. Cray oversees the animal sectors of NARMS, which helps producers and veterinarians monitor resistance to the products used in animals, as well as working to protect animal and public health. NARMS' information will be critical as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration evaluates the safety of antimicrobial use in animal agriculture.

CAHFSE brings together three USDA agencies – the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service; Agricultural Research Service, and the Food Safety Inspection Service – to enhance the understanding of bacteria that pose a food-safety risk by tracking those bacteria on the farm, over time, and to monitor critical swine diseases. A particular emphasis of CAHFSE is to address issues related to bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics.

“Paula’s research in food safety and antimicrobial resistance has been valuable in improving our understanding of these issues,” says Jill Appell an Illinois pork producer who chairs NPB's Pork Safety Committee. “It was interesting to note that at the Pork Quality and Safety Summit, her work was referenced in numerous presentations.”

The pork industry is the first commodity to participate in CAHFSE, with pork producers in four states involved in the project, notes Appell.

Fedorka-Cray also is a member of the Pork Checkoff’s Salmonella Working Group and the Pharmaceutical Issues Task Force.