CAES researchers work to improve food safety in Senegal’s growing dairy industry

The University of Georgia has received a $700,000 grant from the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Safety to help improve food safety in Senegal's rapidly growing dairy industry.

The project is part of a larger $2.9 million parent grant from the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Safety, based at Cornell and Purdue Universities and funded by USAID as part of Feed the Future, the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative.

Led by Manpreet Singh, professor in the UGA Department of Poultry Science and interim head of the Department of Food Science and Technology, the project will raise awareness of food safety issues, create training programs for dairy operators and coordinate comprehensive food safety regulations in the country.

While Senegal relies on importing dairy products to meet the country’s needs, there is significant potential to enhance economic development in rural areas by organizing small dairy producers — who are predominantly women — and providing research and training to support and strengthen food safety in the value chain and to overcome barriers to the adoption of food safety practices, Singh said.

“Prioritizing food safety in Senegal will enhance public health and empower youth and women via capacity-building efforts. This collaborative project will enhance existing dairy processing technologies and their adoption for safety and improving market access, strengthen the capacity of food safety research related to the dairy value chain, and build strong public/private partnerships in enhancing food safety and reducing foodborne illnesses,” Singh said. “It also will empower women and increase youth participation in processing and safety of the dairy value chain, and ultimately increase access to safe dairy products.”

Co-principal investigators on the project include UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences poultry science Professor Harshavardhan Thippareddi, Coordinator of International Programs Victoria Collins McMaken and Postdoctoral Research Associate Jessica Marter-Kenyon; Gopal Reddy and Woubit Abebe at Tuskegee University in Alabama; Cheikh Ndaye of the Institut de Technologie Alimentaire (ITA) as the lead co-principal investigator in Senegal; Younoussa Diallo at ITA; and Mamadou Bocar Thiamat at the Senegalese Institute of Agricultural Research. Momar Thiam is the Senegalese government representative on the team with the Unit for the Fight Against Malnutrition.

“Like any food, dairy products are only nutritious if they are safe. We see a timely opportunity to support Senegal’s dairy sector in the early stages of its economic growth, so these grassroots efforts in food safety can develop into long-term, sustained food safety practices and policies in this important, nutrient-dense food,” said Haley Oliver, Food Safety Innovation Lab (FSIL) director and professor of food science at Purdue University.

For more information on the UGA Department of Food Science and Technology, visit foodscience.caes.uga.edu.

About Feed the Future

Feed the Future is the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative. With a focus on smallholder farmers, particularly women, Feed the Future supports partner countries in developing their agriculture sectors to spur economic growth and trade that increase incomes and reduce hunger, poverty and undernutrition. For more information, visit www.feedthefuture.gov.

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