Food safety specialist joins MSU Extension

A food safety specialist with industry and public service experience recently joined the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Courtney Crist began work as an assistant Extension professor Aug. 16 in the MSU Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion.

“I think my experiences at Mississippi State sparked my interest to pursue Extension as a career,” Crist said. “I had the opportunity to develop a Food Defense and Biosecurity Extension Program for the Mississippi catfish industry. I very much enjoyed working on, developing and delivering the workshop, as well as making a difference. I wanted to work in a challenging but fulfilling position while giving back to the community, state, nation and world.”

Crist will provide support, expertise and programs in muscle foods, food safety, food regulatory guidance, new business development and new product development. Additionally, she will support Extension through program development across the state for local agents regarding food safety, home preservation, cooking practices and business development.

“I am looking forward to developing relationships with communities, faculty, industry and agents across the state, as well as continuing to learn and explore Mississippi,” Crist said. “I think the Extension motto of ‘Extending Knowledge, Changing Lives’ is relevant and needed in today’s society with the growing misinformation surrounding food and health.”

During her undergraduate program at the University of North Georgia, she interned in the Quality Assurance Department at Southeastern Mills in Rome, Georgia. Crist said that experience sparked her fascination in all things food. She transferred to Mississippi State to pursue a food science degree. After working in the Muscle Foods/Meat Chemistry Lab, she decided to pursue her master’s degree and minor in agricultural and Extension education. Crist then obtained her doctoral degree at Virginia Tech in food science and technology.

Crist said it is an exciting time to be involved in the food industry.

“The food industry is faced with a number of challenges in the future, including feeding 9 billion people by 2050,” Crist said. “Our food system continues to evolve with research progress and enhanced knowledge regarding food safety practices, the interface of food and health, smart packaging, ingredient solutions, consumer education, resource conservation and best practices. I am looking forward to seeing the industry grow and growing with it.”

For more information:
Mississippi State University
Courtney Crist

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