COLUMBUS, Ohio—A new endowed fund to support food safety has been established thanks to a $100,000 gift from Bill Marler and Marler Clark LLP PS, The Food Safety Law Firm.
The gift, presented to The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) Oct. 1, brings the fund’s total to $169,863 and establishes it as a permanent endowment for The Center for Foodborne Illness Research and Prevention (CFI).
Founded as a nonprofit organization in 2006, CFI brought its 14-year record of protecting public health to CFAES in September 2019. The center, which is now housed within the CFAES Department of Food Science and Technology, has a mission to advance a more scientific, risk-based food safety system that prevents foodborne illnesses and protects public health by translating science into policy and practice.
“This wonderful gift will support CFI’s efforts to prevent foodborne disease,” said Barbara Kowalcyk, a CFAES assistant professor who co-founded CFI and is the center’s director.
“Foodborne disease sickens 600 million people, causing at least 420,000 deaths, globally each year,” she said. “Increasingly, food safety is seen as critical to ensuring food security and sustainability.
“Bill Marler—and Marler Clark—has long supported food safety efforts and advocated on behalf of those impacted by foodborne disease, including my family,” said Kowalcyk, whose 2-year-old son Kevin died from foodborne disease in 2001.
“Bill’s donation—combined with $60,000 from other donors—took us over the threshold for becoming a permanent endowment,” she said.
This fund will provide a steady stream of funds for CFI’s public policy and translational research efforts, which include, for example, providing input to government agencies on addressing salmonella in meat and poultry products, Kowalcyk said.
“Barbara Kowalcyk, and the entire Kowalcyk family, turned a tragedy into a powerful mission,” Marler said. “Few of us would have had the courage and strength shown by their commitment to making our food supply safer.
“It is an honor to be of help.”
CFI focuses on translating science into food safety policies and practices that prevent foodborne disease. The center also provides a centralized location for food safety resources, researchers, faculty, and staff from several Ohio State colleges and departments including the College of Public Health, the John Glenn College of Public Affairs, the College of Veterinary Medicine, and the College of Education and Human Ecology.
To learn more about CFI and the endowment fund, visit foodsafety.osu.edu.