Expert Alert: Link Between Climate Change and Food-Borne Illnesses

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Prof. Lawrence Goodridge

Prof. Lawrence Goodridge, Department of Food Safety, is available to discuss how climate change could fuel an increase in food-borne illness outbreaks

Goodridge recently spoke to CBC Nova Scotia and explained: “As the planet becomes warmer and the air temperature becomes warmer, I expect that we’re going to see more outbreaks.”

He detailed some of the ways that could happen, including:

  • flooding from rainfall increases could send animal waste into food crops and contaminate them with dangerous bacteria
  • destructive weather could cause power outages that compromise refrigeration, risking bacteria overgrowths
  • warmer ocean waters could allow vibrio bacteria to accumulate in shellfish such as mussels and oysters

Goodridge added he and others have been researching ways to safely kill bacteria on fruits and vegetables. But he said more needs to be done to monitor increases in food-borne illness outbreaks.

Goodridge holds the Leung Family Professorship in Food Safety in the Department of Food Science and pursues interdisciplinary research on food-borne pathogens. He is available for interviews.

Contact: 
Prof. Lawrence Goodridge
goodridl@uoguelph.ca