Trying to make food safety cool — International Food Safety Network year in review

We’re on a mission to make food safety a pop-culture phenomenon.

We is the International Food Safety Network — my lab (iFSN)  — and we provide research, commentary, policy evaluation and public information on food safety issues.
I edit three of the four daily listservs that are distributed to over 13,000 direct subscribers in some 70 countries (Ben Chapman has been editing AnimalNet since early in 2007). That information is redirected to millions around the world. The International Food Safety Network website was moved to ,in Jan. 2007 (a significant undertaking). A new website,, was created this year, as well as, with 550 posts since May 1, 2007, an average of almost 2 posts per day, and attracting over 100,000 visitors since May, 1.

In Feb. 2007, my previous institution, the University of Guelph, in Canada, decided — unilaterally — not to continue a partnership with Kansas State, and eliminated access to my staff and funds that I had established in Guelph (about $750,000). They even tried to shut down the web site, but I’d already moved it. Over the course of 2007, I have replaced five full-time research assistants and several part-timers paid out of Guelph with 12 part-time undergraduates at K-State and elsewhere, and one graduate student. You’ve heard from some of them in the past week; you’ll hear from the rest in future weeks. The quality and diversity of the students I have been able to attract has been invigorating to the entire iFSN operation. Let the hacks and posers fight over what is left; I’m moving forward.

iFSN had more media exposure than ever in 2007, with some 450 media hits, including the N.Y. Times, L.A. Times, Washington Post, USA Today, CBS Evening News, and repeatedly quoted in every major U.S., Canadian and Australian media outlet, as well as a few others. We were quoted on The Late Show with David Letterman and advised people to use their front porch as a cooler when the power goes out.

We gave talks all over the world, for various groups, including the National Restaurant Association, Walt Disney World, and dozens of public health groups and scientific societies.

Based on the primary activities listed in the chart below, I spend each and every day (including Sat., Sun. and holidays) editing 36 news items, posting 4 listservs, composing two blog posts, doing one or two media interviews, distributing a commentary once or twice a week, and giving a talk and editing an infosheet almost once a week. In my extra time I teach, apply for research grants, supervise research and graduate students, recruit undergraduate students, and write scientific papers.

We need your support to continue doing what we do. Give often, give a lot, at

Or contact me directly,

Have a great year

Doug Powell