Modeling and Training to Enhance Resilience of the U.S. Food System to COVID-19 Labor Shortages
Funded by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, a team of Cornell University researchers, partnering with startup iFoodDecisionSciences (iFoodDS), is conducting a project to model the spread of COVID-19
Funded by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, a team of Cornell University researchers, partnering with startup iFoodDecisionSciences (iFoodDS), is conducting a project to model the spread of COVID-19 and to identify optimal mitigation strategies for labor-intensive food processing facilities - those involving food industries in which workers typically work very close to each other: produce, dairy, beef, pork, and poultry processing facilities; and produce farms.
Our model is called the ‘COVID-19 Infection & Food Production Capacity Model.’ Once we develop this model, we will scale it up and implement it at volunteer facilities to improve their effectiveness at addressing and mitigating COVID-19. Our goal is to develop a decision support tool that can help processing facilities to develop their own mitigation programs.
In parallel to the modeling work, the investigators are developing and delivering a comprehensive, online, interactive Extension training program on COVID-19 control strategies. This is important because, these strategies and trainings will allow the food industry to better manage the effects of COVID-19, and that should increase the resilience of the U.S. food supply chain now and in the future.
These are the team members and what each of us contributes:
- Dr. Renata Ivanek, Cornell University, Dept. of Population Medicine and Diagnostics Sciences - Epidemiology, mathematical modeling, infectious diseases, and food systems
- Dr. Samuel Alcaine, Cornell University, Dept. of Food Science. – Extension, food systems and dairy production
- Dr. Martin Wiedmann, Cornell University, Dept. of Food Science – Extension, food industry, microbiology
- Dr. Aaron Adalja, Cornell University, Dyson School of Applied Economics and – Agricultural economics
- Dr. Claire Zoellner, iFoodDS – Food safety specialist, with mathematical modeling and food systems expertise
- Diane Wetherington, iFoodDS – Executive Chairman and founder of the startup, with food industry software expertise