Institute for Food Safety and Health (IFSH)

National Center for Food Safety and Technology


Founded in 1988, the National Center for Food Safety and Technology (NCFST) is a unique cooperative research venture among the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), and its food industry members. Research conducted at IFSH NCFST addresses key food safety issues facing the country and supports the development of safe food with health-promoting properties from farm to fork. This research forms a scientific basis for policy decisions affecting food safety and public health. Development and coordination of NCFST’s scientific research programs are undertaken through the five science platforms: Food Processing, Food Microbiology, Food Chemistry and Packaging, Nutrition, and Proficiency Testing and Method Validation.

The Food Processing Platform aims to provide a scientific basis for the processing and production of safe food, and support programs related to pasteurization, extended shelf life, sterilization, package integrity, and potential cross-contamination/contact issues.

The Food Microbiology Platform aims to contribute knowledge about the characteristics, survival, and inactivation of hazardous microorganisms in foods and processing environments in support of food-contamination risk assessment and management.

The Food Chemistry and Packaging Platform aims to investigate approaches to prevent, reduce or mitigate the formation of hazardous chemical contaminants during processing, and to prevent the cross-transfer of pre-formed natural toxins, allergens or man-made (environmental) contaminants in the food production environment. Another platform goal is to evaluate factors affecting migration of packaging constituents and contaminants into food.

The Nutrition Platform aims to contribute knowledge about food choice and intake behavior by consumers and their impact on nutrition and health. The Nutrition Platform supports research needs of FDA Office of Nutrition and Food Labeling (ONFL).

The Proficiency Testing and Method Validation Research Platform aims to provide underpinning science for the development of food microbiological and chemical inter-laboratory studies and proficiency testing programs.

NCFST is also instrumental in developing the Juice HACCP curriculum. The curriculum was developed by the Juice HACCP Alliance (coordinated through the efforts of the National Center for Food Safety and Technology (NCFST) at the Illinois Institute of Technology), which was formed through the voluntary participation of industry, government, and academic members interested in guiding the juice industry to the higher level of food safety assurance provided by HACCP. Staff from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration participated as technical advisors in the development of the standardized curriculum.

What You Get

  • Access to the only center where industry can work collaboratively with the FDA on food safety, technology, and nutrition projects.
  • Early exposure to cutting-edge research at the pre-publication stage.
  • R&D project briefings with frequent opportunities for face-to-face meetings with FDA scientists and subject experts.
  • Gateway to state-of-the-art research facilities, pilot plants, and labs. 
  • Early advice and analysis on breaking food safety issues worldwide.

How We Deliver

  • Collaborative linkages with the FDA, and its Centers of Excellence.
  • Multi-disciplinary approach to food processes and validation.
  • Internationally recognized scientists.
  • Reduced front-end costs through leveraged grant awards.

Key Staff Members and Contact Information

Brian Schaneberg Ph.D.
Executive Director, IFSH, Illinois Tech

Jason Wan, Ph.D.
Associate Director, IFSH, FSCPA Director, Illinois Tech

Alvin Lee, Ph.D.
Director, Center for Processing Innovation, IFSH, Associate Professor, Illinois Tech

Britt Burton-Freeman, Ph.D.
Director, Center for Nutrition Research, IFSH, Associate Professor, Illinois Tech

Nathan Anderson, Ph.D.
Director, Division of Food Processing and Science & Technology, FDA

Glenn Black, Ph.D.
Associate Director of Research, FDA

Elizabeth Grasso-Kelley, Ph.D.
Chief, Food Technology Branch, FDA

Lauren Jackson, Ph.D.
Chief, Process Engineering Branch, Division of Food Processing Science & Technology, FDA

Ravinder Reddy, Ph.D.
Microbiologist, FDA