Dr. Issmat Kassem, Assistant Professor NFSC, with FAFS colleagues Dr. Abebe (Agriculture) and Dr. Abiad (NFSC), among others, are summarizing “Food Safety Regulations and Enforcement” in different countries of the Middle East and East Africa. The collaboration resulted in three invited chapters on these issues from Tanzania, Qatar, and Ethiopia. The manuscripts were published in the Reference Module in Food Science (Elsevier), “designed to serve as an in depth and comprehensive compendium of Food sciences”.
Dr. Kassem is engaged in writing similar manuscripts on Lebanon and Nigeria. The effort is part of a plan to compare and contrast food safety regulations and enforcement in different developing countries, in order to share the experience, adapt the successes, and remedy the challenges experienced in these vital topics locally and regionally.
In addition, as part of his focus on antimicrobial stewardship in the food production continuum, Dr. Kassem’s laboratory identified the plasmid-borne mobile-colistin resistance gene (mcr-1) in pre-harvest poultry in Lebanon. Mcr-1 leads to resistance to colistin, a last resort antibiotic, reserved for treating complicated infections in humans. Notably, mcr-1 is readily transmissible between notorious bacterial pathogens. This research was recently published in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, an American Society for Microbiology journal and a major forum in its field.