Food Animal Health Research Program
Should We Follow the 5-Second Rule? Food-Safety Advice Based on Science
A veterinarian and microbiologist, Jeff LeJeune is a go-to expert for those perennial food safety questions: Should we follow the 5-second rule? (Eating off the floor violates all food-borne illness prevention advice.) Is raw milk safe? (No, but its sale is a political, not a scientific, debate.) Can I cook my Jack-o’-Lantern after Halloween? (Not if it sits out for more than two hours.) Are raw diets for dogs a public health concern for humans? (Your dog is more likely to have Salmonella if it is eating raw food.) In his research, LeJeune examines the difficult issues involved in keeping our food chain safe. He studies how organisms from wildlife and water – think E. coli, Salmonella and antimicrobial-resistant organisms – enter the food supply, either by infecting livestock or being released in vegetable fields. The ultimate aim: preventing food-borne spread of infections to humans by establishing food production controls that take the full pre-harvest environment into account. His techniques apply to domestic and international food-production systems of all types and sizes. He has investigated Ohio’s Amish farming practices to inform the FDA’s produce safety standards regarding the use of work animals in the field and the application of noncomposted manure as fertilizer.
LeJeune is director of the Food Animal Health Research Program based at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, and an assistant dean in the College of Veterinary Medicine.