Burlington--U. S. Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsak has appointed Dr. Omar A. Oyarzabal to the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods (NACMCF).
Oyarzabal, the University of Vermont (UVM) Extension food safety specialist, was first tapped for NACMCF in early 2016 as a subject matter expert for a subcommittee tasked with studying current information on food-borne Shiga toxin-producing strains of E. coli. These may occur in ground meats, fresh produce and dairy products and can lead to serious illness, especially in children younger than 10 years old.
NACMCF, which is under the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service, provides unbiased, research-based advice to federal food safety agencies as requested. Appointees serve for a two-year term and include leading experts in microbiology, epidemiology, food technology, toxicology, infectious diseases, risk assessment, biostatistics and related sciences.
Oyarzabal has been with UVM Extension since 2014. He works with state agencies, including the Vermont Department of Health, to help commercial food processors implement food safety practices in compliance with state and federal food safety laws. In addition, he is the founder and current editor-in-chief of Microbial Risk Analysis, an interdisciplinary journal for risk-analysis work on microbial hazards.