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Research Projects

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Current Research Projects

Identifying Food Safety Risk Factors and Educational Strategies for Consumers Purchasing Foods via the Internet

Project Duration: Research Ongoing

More than 500 companies market perishable meat, fish, and seafood products directly to consumers online, using carriers such as FedEx and UPS to deliver their packages throughout the United States. This project examines the potential food safety risk factors associated with these products and how to educate consumers to avoid them.

Communicating About Microbial Risk

Project Duration: Research Ongoing

This project will study the communication about microbial risk

Public Perceptions of Cloned Animals

Project Duration: Research Ongoing

The purpose of this project is to examine the intersection of rhetoric and opinion regarding the controversial issues related to animals, cloning, and the food supply.

Understanding Consumer Interests in Organic Foods

Project Duration: Research Ongoing

American's Perceptions and Practices of Food Safety

Project Duration: Research Ongoing

This project explores American’s perceptions of food safety and their food safety practices.

The Economic and Land Use Impacts of the New Jersey Equine Industry

Project Duration: Research Ongoing

This study, commissioned by the Equine Science Center at Rutgers University, provided a comprehensive assessment of the economic and land use impacts of the New Jersey equine industry. Linkages and interdependencies between the equine industry and other aspects of the state’s farming industry were also quantified.

Food Security, Rights, and Systems

Project Duration: Research Ongoing

The study of food security, systems and rights addresses human security and well-being whereby all community or local residents obtain a safe, culturally acceptable, nutritionally adequate diet through a sustainable food system that maximizes community self-reliance and social justice.

Measuring the Impact of Jersey Fresh Promotion in Farm Returns

Project Duration: Research Ongoing

This study uses regression analysis to isolate and measure the impact of the New Jersey Department of Agriculture's Jersey Fresh promotional program, established in 1984, on statewide farm revenues. The public return on investment is also estimated vis-à-vis the program's impact on public revenues (tax dollars).

Risk Management in New Jersey Agriculture

Project Duration: Research Ongoing

The objectives of this project were to understand the nature of risks facing New Jersey farmers and develop risk management initiatives to help farmers pursue higher farming returns.

Consumer Perceptions and Behaviors Related to Food Recalls

Project Duration: Research Ongoing

This project explores American consumer’s knowledge, attitudes, intentions, and behaviors in response to the recall of contaminated food products.

Past Research Projects

Developing Monitoring and Evaluation Systems for Seed Alliance Activities in Sub-Saharan Africa

Project Duration: 10/2009 to 2/2011

This project aim to develop specific evaluation tools and indicators that will enable the measurement of performance and innovations involved in the implementation of the on-going seed development programs of the West African Seed Alliance in target countries.

The Diet Health Nexis: Communicating Emerging Evidence

Project Duration: 7/2009 to 6/2014

Promoting Emergency Preparedness: The Development of a Food Command Center in New Jersey

Project Duration: 8/2008 to 12/2009

The goal of this project is to develop a food command center capability in New Jersey to facilitate efficient distribution of food in times of crisis. The project includes an assessment of existing food distribution infrastructure and the development and testing of a pilot food sector distribution plan.

Impact Assessment of Revisions in the New Jersey Farmland Assessment Act

Project Duration: 3/2008 to 10/2008

This study was commissioned by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture and evaluated the impacts of hypothetical revisions in the eligibility criteria for farmland assessment in New Jersey. The status of differential assessment programs in other Northeastern states was also examined.

Evaluating Rockefeller Foundation Research and Technology Transfer Projects on Drought Tolerant Rice in Asia

Project Duration: 1/2008 to 12/2010

The objective of this study is to assess the potential impact of Rockefeller's support for drought tolerant rice research and tech transfer activities in China, India, and Thailand and to find out whether national governments and donors should continue to fund this type of research.

Globalization of Private Sector Agricultural Research

Project Duration: 10/2007 to 9/2010

The objective of this study will examine the role of the private sector in developing and transferring new agricultural technology in the United States and abroad. Findings will be used to analyze trends in agricultural research and innovation, especially changes in private research investment, the effects of globalization of research and technology transfer activities, and directions of private sector agricultural research. The study will assess the implications of these findings for US agricultural policy

Oaxacan Women's Health: Needs, Knowledge, and Practice for Self, Family and Community in Cross-Border Transitions

Project Duration: 9/2007 to 12/2008

The objective of this study is to examine the health needs and work to improve the health knowledge and practice among Oaxacan households in the migration cycle between New Brunswick, NJ and Oaxaca, Mexico. Following up the on the successful project, "Health Needs, Knowledge and Practice: Oaxacan Women, their Children, and their Extended Families in the Migration Cycle Between New Brunswick, NJ and Mexico," directed by Anne Bellows, this study will continue to develop health policy leadership in the New Brunswick and Oaxacan communities. The project is being carried out with Teresa Vivar, President of LAZOS America Unida.

Youth Understanding of Foodborne Illness, with Computer-Based Interventions for Science Classrooms and Informal Learning Settings

Project Duration: 9/2007 to 8/2010

The objective of this project is to engage youth in preventative behavior against foodborne illness and communicate these messages to other family members. This will be done by investigating the food handling responsibilities and obstacles to adopting safe food handling behavior encountered by middle school consumers, including knowledge of foodborne illness and preventative behaviors, psychosocial factors (i.e., attitudes, locus of control, self-efficacy) and self-reported food handling procedures. Recommendations will be provided for educational and behavioral objectives for the development of new materials based on research findings, and gaps in existing educational materials.

Efficiency, Effectiveness and Birth Outcome Evaluation in the New Jersey Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (NJ-WIC)

Project Duration: 3/2007 to 3/2008

The goal of this project is to carry out an efficiency, effectiveness and birth outcomes evaluation of the NJ WIC program. The evaluation consists of three parts: 1) An analysis of the location of existing New Jersey local WIC agency sites to evaluate accessibility to service locations relative to eligible WIC participants and the availability and accessibility to supplementary services that contribute to participation and utilization of WIC Services: 2) An analysis of the operation, structure, staffing, caseload, cost/time saving measures, clinic flow, physical design (as related to service delivery), staff functions and practices of all 18 local WIC Agencies, including performing 100 site visits to local WIC clinic sites; 3) An evaluation of the relationship between the provision of WIC services and selected birth outcomes and on Medicaid covered medical care costs associated with deliveries of newborns in New Jersey.

Food Handling, Consumption, Knowledge, Attitudes, and Behaviors of Young Adults and the Impact of a Food Safety Social Marketing Campaign

Project Duration: 9/2006 to 9/2008

This project will investigate obstacles to adopting safe food handling and consumption behaviors encountered by consumer groups who mishandle food, and will examine the impact and relative demographic characteristics, food safety knowledge and psychosocial factors to food handling and consumption practices. As a result, recommendations for food safety education interventions will be developed to provide undergraduate course instructional materials to assess their impact on student knowledge, attitudes, and intended behaviors. The validity of these recommendations will be tested through a social marketing campaign, implemented and evaluated on 10 college campuses, which will motivate this study’s audience to change their behaviors.

Health Needs, Knowledge and Practice: Oaxacan Women, their Children, and their Extended Families in the Migration Cycle Between New Brunswick, NJ and Mexico

Project Duration: 7/2006 to 12/2006

This project initiates the first steps to examining linkages between mobility, health, and nutrition for 30 New Brunswick, New Jersey Oaxacan-Mexican families and 30 related families in the State of Oaxaca in Mexico. The long term goal of the study is to identify and link health care needs and institutions, research centers, and community organizations in New Brunswick and Oaxaca to maximize the opportunities to meet health needs and provide basic services to a highly mobile population.

The Nation's Nutrition: It's Time to De-Stress

Project Duration: 4/2006 to 8/2007

This project aims to understand nutrition stresses and offer viable solutions. Phase 1 focuses on compiling and distributing information, informing Americans on how they can harness the power of today's food supply to alleviate nutritional stresses and improve health. Phase 2 will allow researchers to collect information on what families are stocking in their pantries, determine caloric and nutrition information, and offer suggestions on a “pantry make-over” to eliminate nutrition stress.

Estimating the Impact of the 2005 Increase in State Minimum Wage on NJ Agriculture

Project Duration: 3/2006 to 9/2006

This project examines the extent to which the legislatively mandated increase in the New Jersey minimum wage (from $5.15 to $7.15 per hour, over two years) will impact the hired labor costs of the state’s farmers. The study estimates the industry-level impact of the wage increase and the distribution of hired labor cost increases across sectors and scales of operations.

Evaluating Research on Drought Tolerant Rice in Asia- Phase I

Project Duration: 3/2006 to 2/2007

This project will review the Rockefeller Foundation’s projects which fund research to encourage the development of drought tolerant rice in Asia. Researchers will review the literature generated by the project, interview key scientists, and form a team of social scientists to develop a project proposal to evaluate the effectiveness of this and future research on drought tolerance in rice.

A Multi-Disciplinary Study of the Contaminated Spinach Recall of 2006

Project Duration: 9/2005 to 8/2009

This project examines the events, decisions, media coverage, and public knowledge and behaviors related to the nationwide recall of spinach contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 in September of 2006.

Food Biosecurity: Modeling the Health, Economic, Social and Psychological Consequences of Intentional and Unintentional Food Contamination

Project Duration: 9/2005 to 8/2009

The goal of this project is to ensure food biosecurity by significantly enhancing the effectiveness of threat prevention, threat response, risk management, risk communication, and public education efforts by creating a multidisciplinary understanding of the health, economic, social and psychological consequences of intentional and unintentional food contamination.

Public Perception of the Threat of Avian Influenza in the Food Supply

Project Duration: 9/2005 to 8/2009

The project focuses on what American consumers would likely do if highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza were found in poultry in the United States. It’s activities are designed to provide information about public knowledge, attitudes, intentions and behaviors related to the threat of highly pathogenic avian influenza.

An Examination of the U.S. Food Import System

Project Duration: 8/2005 to 8/2009

Imported foods now make up an estimated 10 to 13 percent of the American diet. Each year, more than nine million entries of imported foods and food-related products pass into the United States through one of more than 300 entry points including ports, border crossings, and postal facilities. This project was designed to create a primer to assist reporters, writers, scientists, politicians and the public in understanding both the current rules and proposed changes to the food import system.

Food Allergies Education

Project Duration: 7/2005 to 6/2006

This project is a response to the directive promulgated under New Jersey public law 2005, C.026-(A303 ACS 2R) requiring the development of effective outreach and media materials to increase awareness of food allergens. A statewide “Ask Before You Eat, Know Before You Serve” campaign, fact sheets and other media and venue-specific materials were developed for persons with food allergies, as well as parents and care providers of children with food allergies. Materials were also developed for foodservice workers, advising of the importance of being fully informed about menu ingredients, preparation and storage procedures, and cross contamination.

Emergency Preparedness and Response Training for Food Retail Store Management

Project Duration: 4/2005 to 6/2006

This education and training program provides food retail managers with practical information on the importance and process of promoting in-store emergency preparedness. The program is aimed at equipping managers to more effectively prevent, detect, respond and recover from emergency situations in order to protect consumers and associates, minimize loss, and promote business continuity.

Supporting Agritourism Industry Development in New Jersey

Project Duration: 4/2005 to 3/2006

This project provides a foundation for State and local efforts to promote agritourism industry development and viability in New Jersey. Specifically, this study examines the current status and nature of agritourism operations in New Jersey, including the types of activities being offered, farmers' perceptions of the impact of agritourism on farm viability (in financial as well as non-pecuniary terms), and key opportunities and challenges that will impact the future agritourism industry growth.

Partnership for Sustainable Economic Growth in Africa Through Natural Products Development

Project Duration: 9/2004 to 9/2009

This project focuses on building private and public partnerships to address key issues hampering the development of the natural products industry, especially relating to value addition, safety/quality and trade standards and markets. The overall goal of this project is to generate economic growth, income and employment in the chosen USAID client countries through the sustainable science-based production and marketing of high quality and healthful African natural plant products within a properly regulated system.

The Political Economy of Local Land Preservation Taxes in New Jersey

Project Duration: 1/2004 to 6/2004

In 1999, the Garden State Preservation Trust was created, establishing a stable statewide funding source for land preservation in New Jersey. To meet matching funds requirements imposed by the state farmland preservation program, many municipalities adopted dedicated taxes for land preservation in recent years. This study develops a political economy framework to investigate factors driving adoption of local taxes to support farmland and open space preservation.

Assessing Americans' Awareness and Perceptions of the 2003 Mad Cow Case

Project Duration: 12/2003 to 6/2004

This project assessed public awareness, knowledge, and reaction to the discovery of the first documented U.S. case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy ("mad cow disease") in a Washington dairy cow in December 2003. Findings are based on a survey conducted in January 2004 with a national probability sample of 1,001 adults in the continental United States.

Measuring the Impact of Jersey Fresh Promotion in Farm Returns: Revisited

Project Duration: 9/2003 to 4/2004

This study updates the 1994 Jersey Fresh program impact assessment, measuring the economic impact of state promotion on aggregate New Jersey farm cash receipts and tax revenue. The econometric analysis is focused on the returns generated in the fruit and vegetable sectors. IMPLAN analysis is used to estimate the "ripple" effects of Jersey Fresh promotion across the New Jersey economy.

Developing Weather Based Risk Management and Insurance Products for NAP and Specialty Crops in the US

Project Duration: 9/2002 to 8/2006

This research will investigate the relationship between weather and risk for NAP and specialty crops in the U.S. and to develop new actuarial insurance models based on rainfall and heat that can be applied to these crops. It also represents the first of its kind to evaluate alternative weather based insurance and derivatives for specialty crops in U.S. agriculture.

Improving Food Security for New Jersey's Families

Project Duration: 8/2002 to 9/2005

This project will develop an overall understanding of food sources and human need for food in New Jersey, as well as a fiscally sound linkage strategy. It will identify and quantify, at all steps in the State's food delivery system, wholesome and nutritious food that goes to waste before it can be made available to those in need; identify and quantify, the need for emergency or supplemental feeding for families and individuals in the State; develop a fiscally judicious plan to secure food from loss to deterioration or waste, and transport and apportion that food to emergency feeding programs; develop strategies for behaviorally-focused educational outreach with at-risk families and individuals; and, analyze nutritional sufficiencies and deficiencies in existing emergency food programs, and develop solutions to generating nutritionally complete, culturally acceptable diets.

Assessing the Status of Mandatory Food Safety Certification in the U.S.

Project Duration: 7/2002 to 6/2003

This project provides a 50-state review of the status and nature of state-mandated food safety certification programs for foodservice establishments, as they existed in 2002.

Examining Current Issues in the New Jersey Restaurant Industry

Project Duration: 7/2002 to 6/2003

This study examines the attitudes and perceptions of restaurant owners and operators in the state of New Jersey. Qualitative in nature, this research convened focus groups of foodservice establishment owners and operators to identify market trends, policy and legislative issues, and other factors affecting foodservice businesses in the state.

Assessing the Implications of the 2002 Bioterrorism Act on U.S. Food Companies

Project Duration: 1/2002 to 1/2003

This project examines the implications of several key provisions of the 2002 Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 of U.S. food firms.

Consumer Perception and Understanding of Food Biotechnology in the United States

Project Duration: 9/2001 to 9/2006

The goal of this project is to develop a multi-disciplinary understanding of the bases for public awareness, perceptions, and acceptance of, food biotechnology in the U.S. A series of national surveys was performed to assess and monitor American consumer knowledge, awareness and perceptions of food biotechnology. The knowledge generated through this program will aid companies and the agricultural community in their understanding of factors driving consumer attitudes toward food biotechnology; inform policy makers of the concerns and needs of consumers; and, help in the design and delivery of appropriate educational and outreach materials.

Examining the Economic and Policy Aspects of New Jersey's Agriculture and Food Industries

Project Duration: 1/2001 to 12/2015

This program area focuses on various economic, policy, and land use aspects of New Jersey's agricultural and food complex.

The Threat of Terrorism in the U.S. Food Supply

Project Duration: 1/2001 to 1/2004

This project examines the nature and consequences of potential disruptions in the American food system.

Analysis of Markets for Botanicals and Natural Products: Trade Opportunities for the US and Western Africa

Project Duration: 11/2000 to 7/2001

The trend toward nutraceuticals has been identified as among the most important trends facing food and pharmaceutical companies and consumers in the United States today. As consumers increasingly shift toward non-traditional modes of health delivery and more natural alternatives to health maintenance and disease treatment, the demand for natural products and botanicals has risen substantially. The goal of this study is to rpvide information on the leading natural product markets in western Africa (Ghana, Nigeria, Cote D’ Ivoire) and the international trade dynamics within these sectors. Specifically, trade patterns existing between the United States and nations in western Africa will be investigated.

Assessing the Status and Economics of New Jersey's Food Industries

Project Duration: 1/1994 to 1/1997

This series of four studies focused on the status and condition of New Jersey's food manufacturing, food wholesale, food retail, and foodservice industries. Economic trends and key industry issues and challenges are summarized based on focus group sessions with industry leaders. The study culminated with a statewide Food Industry Summit, which convened industry and government leaders for the purpose of defining an agenda for industry economic development.