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Experts Available to Comment on U.S. Food Systems, COVID-19

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C.— RTI International, a nonprofit research institute, has experts available to comment on how the COVID-19 pandemic will impact U.S. food systems. Three of RTI’s researchers are combining expertise and knowledge of these systems to comment on topics involving food safety, security, supply, and waste.

As COVID-19 continues to spread, worry regarding the resilience of the Nation’s food systems has grown. The pandemic has led to the closing of meat processing plants, excessive food waste, and concern over if the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) can keep up with recalls and safety protocols. As the pandemic continues, there is reason to question what kind of short and long term impacts we can expect on food and nutrition systems.

Dr. Ellen Shumaker, Dr. Mary Muth and Dr. Andrea Anater all have extensive experience in topics related to the Nation’s food system as a whole and can speak to how the COVID-19 pandemic will impact or change the systems we currently have in place.

  • Food Safety: Dr. Shumaker is an expert in food safety, food science, and risk communication. She has worked on projects for the FDA and USDA and has worked to develop food safety training using immersive technology to provide innovative training solutions. Innovative technology could be used as a solution to continue to ensure food safety across the nation throughout the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Food Waste and Supply: Dr. Muth, conducts research studies to analyze the impacts of policies, regulations, and other initiatives affecting food and agriculture. Her work has been published widely and she also serves as an adjunct associate professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at North Carolina State University. Dr. Muth can speak on a range of topics involving food in relation to COVID-19, with an emphasis on food waste.
  • Food Security: Dr. Anater is a Senior Public Health Nutrition Researcher and adjunct professor of Nutrition at the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Anater’s work focuses on behavioral, cultural, and environmental factors, and social constructs that influence health behavior change, relative to nutrition-related chronic disease prevention and food insecurity. She can speak to the impact COVID-19 will have on food security across the U.S.

To request an interview, contact the RTI Newsroom at news@rti.org.