The Institute for Food Safety and Health

By Bernard B. Tulsi

The Institute for Food Safety and Health (FSH), formerly the National Center for Food Safety and Technology, which is engaged in a broad range of food-related research, provides an excellent profile of the vital tools and instrumentation required for food testing. Jack Cappozzo, current director of chemistry, who had served in senior chemistry positions at ConAgra Foods for nineteen years before joining the institute, says that FSH has always been associated with the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) in Chicago.

“Our consortium consists of our academic group and a group from the FDA. We are the only group in the country that has embedded FDA staff, and our mission is to work on applications in food processing to increase food safety. The third member of our consortium is industry. We have over 50 industry members, such as Kraft, Unilever, Coke, Pepsi, Agilent, Nestlé, Mars, Charm Science and many others.”

FSH projects represent a consensus of industry needs to solve problems with input from the FDA, says Cappozzo. The work flow encompasses process engineering, packaging, microbiology, molecular biology and chemistry. The chemistry group is involved in research in food processing, such as removal of pesticides for fresh produce, mitigation of acrylamide in the frying process, sanitation to validate the removal of allergens and development of methods to reduce the level of mycotoxins in raw commodities.

“In addition, we have a nutrition group that has a clinical laboratory. This group has been focused on natural phenolic antioxidants (flavonoids/anthocyanins) and their effect on health and the bioavailability of these compounds. The chemistry group has been very involved in the separation, identification and quantitation of these compounds in the food materials and patient blood (serum),” says Cappozzo.

He says that the FSH provides services to food companies based on its capabilities and expertise. “We are not a contract lab, but we have contracted out research and used our services to fulfill that work. We have a tremendous amount of capability, but the time needed to do the work is at a premium. We have numerous methods that we have optimized for better detection and throughput,” he says.

FSH Instrumentation Profile


Instrumentation In Hand and Wish List

What instruments do you have in your lab?


Which is most important and why?

“We do a great deal of work on the HPLC-MS/MS system. We need to quantitate, and this has the greatest sensitivity with the least background (signal to noise). We still do a lot of GC-MS, but are expanding into GC-MS/MS,” says Cappozzo.

What instrument do you wish you had but don’t and why?

For throughput, we would like to get another HPLC-MS/ MS, but we have been interested in getting an FTIR with a microscope.

Published In

Workplace Safety Magazine Issue Cover
Workplace Safety

Published: June 1, 2011

Cover Story

Workplace Safety

OSHA celebrated its 40th birthday this year. And to commemorate the milestone, Assistant Secretary of Labor Dr. David Michaels gave some excellent remarks at the Center for American Progress in April.
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