FDSN Seminar Series: Approximating the Needle in the Haystack: Using Simulation Models to Improve Food Safety Controls


Claire Zoellner

The Department of Food Science and Nutrition will host Claire Zoellner, a food safety scientist at iFoodDS, for a seminar titled “Approximating the Needle in the Haystack: Using Simulation Models to Improve Food Safety Controls ” on Thursday, April 20, beginning at 12:45 p.m. The virtual seminar will take place on Zoom. 


Computer models are often used to minimize food safety risks and development costs for new food products and processes (e.g., thermal processing models, shelf life, and microbial growth predictions). Recurring recalls and outbreaks due to post-processing and environmental cross-contamination reiterate the need for the continuous evaluation of food safety controls in processing facilities and along the supply chain. However, alternatives to costly environmental sampling for food safety practitioners to proactively assess contamination risks are lacking. In this seminar, Claire Zoellner will share her research and industry experience in developing simulation tools for use in pinpointing microbial risks in the ready-to-eat food supply chain.


Claire Zoellner is a food safety scientist at iFoodDS, a provider of food safety, quality, and traceability software for the food industry. She uses her expertise in microbial contamination, simulation models, and risk assessment to manage the iFoodDS Environmental Monitoring Solutions product line. Prior to iFoodDS, Zoellner held a postdoctoral research appointment at Cornell University, working on modeling tools to address the risk of Listeria contamination in frozen foods. Zoellner has a B.S. in food science and human nutrition from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Ph.D. in food science and technology, with minors in epidemiology and systems engineering, from Cornell.

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