SmartWash Solutions Educates the Next Generation of Food Safety Experts
SALINAS, CA - With the recent E. coli recalls, food safety is at the forefront of everyone’s minds. Here to address those concerns is SmartWash Solutions™. Utilizing innovative science, engineering, and technology, SmartWash is well known for its progressive, full-service produce wash system, and the company is using this know-how and expertise to instruct the next generation of food safety experts. SmartWash is providing annual internships focused on food safety science to eligible college students, in an effort to invest in the future.
"Students play an integral role in expanding the size and scope of research we perform," said Eric Wilhelmsen, Senior Research Consultant and Internship Program Lead in a press release. "In addition to executing experiments, the interns learn best practices for conducting research and improving food safety."
Giving interns the chance to provide hands-on support in real-time experiments conducted by the SmartWash team, the internship curriculum is intentionally flexible and tailored to the students’ experience. Interns have the opportunity to assist with all essential aspects of successful research and operations, including implementing planned experiments, analyzing and interpreting experiment results, and maintaining the quality control of experiment processes.
"The internship has helped me understand the importance of food safety not only in the actual processing/packing facility, but also when it comes to the soil and growing of crops," said intern Aida Lopez, a biochemistry student at UC Santa Cruz.
Inspiring the next generation of food safety professionals is no easy task, but the company’s internship program works with the students, proving to be a valuable teaching tool for the science behind food safety.
"The internship has shown me the crucial role that SmartWash plays in preventing foodborne illness outbreaks in processed food and how important food safety is in the produce community," shared Hartnell College student and intern Isai Molina.
"The interns not only contribute to experiments that help improve the safety of ready-to-eat foods, but their participation in the program benefits the industry as a whole," added Wilhelmsen. "The process of designing, conducting and leading experiments and then discussing the results gives them a better understanding of the ethics of science while increasing confidence in their abilities, preparing them to be more effective leaders and researchers in the industry."
The past 7 years has seen over 30 students participate in the program, with some opting to continue their careers with SmartWash, and others moving on to post-graduate studies, though all take with them the knowledge and dedication to food safety that they learned throughout the internship.
Supporting the next generation of food safety professionals is an investment in the future of food safety. AndNowUKnow will continue to keep you updated on this and other ag industry educational programs.