Microbes that cause food-borne illness spread readily from animals to people through contaminated meat, water, and produce. In the United States, we may be relatively disconnected from the ways our food is grown, harvested, and brought to market, but in the least-developed countries, close interactions with food-producing animals are part of daily life. How do the laws, customs, and economic realities involved in our food-production system affect the things we eat? What can we do to ensure a safe, affordable, and sustainable supply of food for ourselves while respecting the needs of our global community?


Featuring: Tom Besser, Ph.D., D.V.M.

Thomas Besser’s research focuses on agents that cause human food-borne diseases. His research into developing practical measures to reduce the prevalence of these agents in animals, as a means of reducing human disease risks, focuses on the ecology and epidemiology of agents in reservoir animal populations. Specifically, Dr. Besser studies non-typhoid Salmonella and thermophilic campylobacters, E. coli, and the use of antimicrobial drugs in animal husbandry. Professor Besser earned his doctorate in veterinary science at WSU and his doctorate in veterinary medicine at the University of Minnesota. In 2001, he was a U.S.-U.K. Fulbright Fellow in Food Safety Research in the operational environment.

Featuring: Bill Sischo, Ph.D., D.V.M., M.P.V.M.

Bill Sischo’s research and teaching interests are at the intersection of animal agriculture systems and the rural, suburban, and urban communities that interact with these systems. Understanding and supporting efficient, sustainable, and healthy food systems that promote food security and public health are major research interests. Dr. Sischo’s current research thrust is the ecology of food-related pathogens (with emphasis on multiple antimicrobial resistant bacteria) in animal production units. His work on Salmonella, the risk factors and biology for occurrence of antibiotic resistant bacteria, and issues involving the rural and urban geographic interface has resulted in an active program to transfer research knowledge to inform agricultural, animal health, and public health policy. His research has led to a multi-institutional, interdisciplinary program that integrates the fundamentals of leadership, communication, and policy formulation to address the compelling issues that face our global animal health systems. Professor Sischo earned his doctoral degree in veterinary medicine at the University of California, Davis, and his master of preventative veterinary medicine degree and doctorate in preventative medicine at The Ohio State University. In 2006 he was awarded a fellowship to the National Library of Medicine in Medical Informatics.