Senior Extension Associate
Dr. Elizabeth A. Bihn is the Director of the Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) leading a nationwide team tasked with providing fundamental, science-based, on-farm food safety knowledge to fresh fruit and vegetable farmers, packers, regulatory personnel and others interested in the safety of fresh produce to meet the Food Safety Modernization Act’s Produce Safety Rule requirements. Betsy is also the Executive Director of the Institute for Food Safety at Cornell University with a mission to provide training and conduct research to support the food industry, from farm to fork, in reducing foodborne illness risks. She has developed award-winning educational materials and training programs for fruit and vegetable farmers, packers, and farm workers for over 18 years. Her research focuses on surface water quality used in the production of fruits and vegetables. Betsy is also the Director of the National Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) Program. She received her B.S. in Zoology from the Ohio State University, M.S. in Horticulture from the University of Florida, and Ph.D. in Food Science from Cornell University.
My research is mainly focused on agricultural water quality and its impact on the microbial safety of fresh fruits and vegetables. In addition, I have recently been focusing some research efforts on understanding cleaning and sanitation practices on fresh produce farms including the impact of hygienic design in overcoming cleaning and sanitation challenges.
Grower and processor perceptions of the impact of the Food Safety Modernization Act regulation on their operations, educational needs, and food safety practice implementation.
Microbial risk reduction in all aspects of fresh fruit and vegetable production particularly worker training and water use.
Outreach and Extension Focus
My extension activities are focused on reducing microbial risks to fresh fruits and vegetables through a comprehensive education and extension program that includes promoting public health through proper hygiene practices. I interact with a broad range of constituents including growers, packers, farm workers, students, secondary school teachers, university collaborators, New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets personnel, United States Department of Agriculture personnel, Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition members, Food and Drug Administration personnel, as well as constituents that contact me directly for information including consumers and extension educators. Most of my extension time is devoted to developing and writing educational materials or conducting educational workshops. I conduct educational workshops throughout the year in New York State, across the US, and internationally. Indicators of the success of these endeavors include the demand for materials, informal feedback from constituents, and consistently positive written evaluations of extension workshops. Demand for educational materials regularly exceeds our funding to produce them and evaluations gathered by workshop organizers indicate that workshops I conduct contain useful information that impacts participants understanding and actions. In addition to these outreach activities, I also conduct research and collaborate with other institutions to increase my understanding of the challenges involved in GAPs implementation. All my extension activities are related to food safety with the focus being primarily on produce food safety.
Secondary education produce food safety curriculum development and online produce safety course development for the fresh fruit and vegetable industry.
Awards and Honors
- William V. Hickey Award (2015) New York State Association for Food Protection
- Ruth and Henry Herzog Graduate Award (2008) Department of Food Science, Cornell University
- Downing Graduate Student Excellence Award (2007) Department of Food Science and Technology, Cornell University
- Goya Foods Prize (2006) Department of Food Science and Technology, Cornell University
- Jenkins, T. J., Bihn, E. A., Anderson, N. M., Idriss, A. W., & Tortorello, M. L. (2016). Food Safety or Food Availability: Do We Have to Choose? Food Protection Trends. 36:72-78.
- Paul,, Daughtery,, Bihn, E. A., Chapman, D., Norwood, K., & Ferl, R. J. (2001). Transgene expression patterns indicate that space flight affects stress signal perception and transduction in arabidopsis. Plant Physiology. 126:613-621.
- Bihn, E. A., Paul, A. L., Wang, S. W., Erdos, G. W., & Ferl, R. J. (1997). Localization of 14-3-3 proteins in the nuclei of Arabidopsis and maize. The Plant Journal. 12:1439-1445.
- Wall, G. L., & Bihn, E. A. (2015). Recommendations to Regulations: Managing Wildlife and Produce Safety on the Farm. Food Safety Risks from Wildlife: Challenges in Agriculture, Conservation, and Public Health Michele T. Jay-Russell, Michael P. Doyle (ed.), Springer, New York, NY, USA.
- Jackson, C., Archer, D. L., Goodrich-Schneider, R., Gravani, R. B., Bihn, E. A., & Schneider, K. R. (2007). Determining the effect of good agricultural awareness on implementation: a multi-state survey. p. 684-693 Food Protection Trends.
- Bihn, E. A., Wall, G., Landis Fisk, C. C., Humiston, M., Pahl, D., Stoeckel, D., Way, R., & Woods, K. (2017). Produce Safety Alliance National Curriculum. Version 1.1. Produce Safety Alliance, Ithaca, NY.
- Bihn, E. A., Wszelaki, A. L., Schermann, M. A., Wall, G. L., & Amundson, S. K. (2014). Farm food safety decision trees for fruit and vegetable growers. p. 187 Cornell University / National GAPs Program.
Presentations and Activities
- Food Safety or Food Availability: Do We Have to Choose? International Association for Food Protection Annual Meeting. August 2014. Fruit and Vegetable PDG. Indianapolis, IN.
- GAPs Outreach and Education for Farmers. North Central Association of Food and Drug Officials Annual Education Conference. October 2013. North Central Association of Food and Drug Officials. Kalamazoo, MI.
- Does Farm Size Impact Food Safety? Internation Association for Food Protection Annual Meeting. July 2013. International Association for Food Protection. Charlotte, NC.
- GAPs Training at University Farms, Orchards, and Gardens. International Association for Food Protection. July 2012. International Association for Food Protection. Providence, RI.
- Dissemination Mechanisms; Water, humans, animals, insects, and field sanitation. Human Pathogens on Plants. February 2012. Phytopathological Society. Hyattsville, MD.
- Assessing the Quality of Surface Water Utilized for Fresh Produce Production in New York. International Association for Food Protection Annual Meeting. August 2011. International Association for Food Protection. Milwaukee, WI.