Established in 2011, the Institute for Food Safety and Health (IFSH) at Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) is a world-class food science research institute that produces knowledge-based outcomes in the areas of food safety, food defense, and nutrition for stakeholders in government, industry, and academia. IFSH’s collaborative research model facilitates innovation in the food industry through the assessment and validation of new and novel food safety and preservation technologies, processing and packaging systems, microbiological and chemical methods, health promoting food components, and risk management strategies.
Located in Bedford Park, Ill., IFSH builds on and expands the vital work of the National Center for Food Safety and Technology (NCFST), a unique research consortium of IIT, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the food industry. For more than 20 years, the center has provided a collaborative environment where scientists from industry, academia, and government pool their scientific expertise and institutional perspectives to ensure the production of safe, wholesome foods.
With its elevation to institute status at IIT, the Institute for Food Safety and Health (.pdf) is strongly positioned to continue this legacy, assisting the nation’s food companies and regulators with practical, authoritative information that supports science-based decision making, especially in light of new requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act.
IFSH is a one-of-a-kind applied food research institute that provides stakeholders the opportunity to develop and exchange knowledge, experience, and expertise to address key issues in food safety, defense, and nutrition. Powered by a singular combination of in-depth expertise and research capabilities, IFSH’s collaborative research model helps stakeholders define and design practical approaches to solving real-world challenges in food industry operations.
At IFSH, stakeholders tap into a unique research synergy that spurs innovation and empowers industry and regulatory agencies to achieve food protection and healthy food goals. As the nation’s only food science institute where scientists from an entire FDA Division are co-located onsite, and where members have access to advanced capabilities, such as the new Biosafety Level 3 (BSL-3) biocontainment space—the only working facility of its kind in the U.S. where researchers can study the behavior of pathogens in real-world food processing conditions—IFSH offers an uncommon research environment that produces solutions based on commonsense science.
IFSH’s research staff more than 70 microbiologists, chemists, biochemists, processing and packaging engineers, virologists, and nutrition scientists assist regulatory and industry stakeholders with a broad spectrum of science-based solutions in a variety of state-of-the-art facilities:
- BSL-2 Food Processing Innovation Laboratory
- BSL-3 Laboratory and Biocontainment Pilot Plant
- Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) Pilot Plant
- GMP Processing and Kitchen Area
- Fresh Produce Processing Line
- Molecular and Microbiology Laboratories
- Applied and Analytical Chemistry Laboratories
- Clinical Nutrition Research Center
- Nutrition and Biochemistry Laboratories
- Proficiency Testing Laboratories
Innovation Through Education
Educating next-generation food scientists and providing working professionals with advanced technical training is a cornerstone of the IFSH mission. IFSH offers graduate degrees and professional certificate programs in cooperation with IIT’s Chemical and Biological Engineering, and Biological, Chemical, and Physical Sciences departments.
Graduate students enrolled in the institute’s Master of Science in Food Safety and Technology and Food Process Engineering degree programs (thesis and non-thesis) receive front-line opportunities to work with IFSH and FDA scientists on research projects related to food safety and process engineering disciplines. Scientists and engineers employed in the food industry also have the opportunity to advance their technical know-how by participating in IFSH’s non-degree courses and professional certificate programs, such as the food industry-oriented Food Processing Specialist Certificate.