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Benjamin Chapman, PhD

Department Head, Professor

University Scholar

Extension Specialist

4101 Beryl Road, 220E


Dr. Ben Chapman is department head of Agricultural and Human Sciences, professor and director of the Safe Plates food safety extension and research program at North Carolina State University. As a teenager, a Saturday afternoon viewing of the classic cable movie, Outbreak, sparked his interest in pathogens and public health. With the goal of reducing foodborne illness, his group researches food handling and food safety systems; designs and implements food safety strategies; and, evaluates messages and media from farm-to-fork. Through reality-based research, the Safe Plates program investigates behaviors and creates interventions aimed at amateur and professional food handlers, managers, and organizational decision-makers; the gate keepers of safe food. Ben also provides leadership to the food sector, serving as Project Director for FoodCoVNET, a collective of food safety professionals conducting research and outreach around COVID-19 concerns in the food supply chain. Ben is the Co-Chair of STOP Foodborne Illness board of directors, an advocacy group for individuals affected by foodborne pathogens. Ben also co-hosts two podcasts, Food Safety Talk and Risky or Not as well as participates in social media. Find him at @benjaminchapman on Twitter.

Programs and Initiatives

  • BarfBlog – Infosheets
  • Food Safety Extension Program
  • Extension Master Food Volunteer Program (EMFV)

Contributing Websites

Professional Honors/Offices/Recognitions

  • 2020 – NCACES Award for Outstanding Subject Matter Program
  • 2018 – Excellence in Teamwork Award for the Extension Master Food Volunteer Program, North Carolina Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences
  • 2018 – Outstanding Subject Matter Program by a Team Award, Extension Master Food Volunteer Program, North Carolina Association of Cooperative Extension Specialists
  • 2015 – International Association for Food Protection, Larry Beuchat Young Researcher Award
  • 2014 – NC State University, University Faculty Scholar
  • 2013 – North Carolina State University Extension, Engagement and Economic Development Opal Mann Green Award (co-recipient as co-chair of the North Carolina Fresh Produce Safety Task Force)
  • 2012 – College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Faculty Resource Development Award, NC State University
  • 2012 – Outstanding Extension Service Award, NC State University
  • 2012 – Academy of Outstanding Faculty Engaged in Extension, NC State University
  • 2011 – Epsilon Sigma Phi Team Award for Xi Chapter

Selected Publications

  • Townsend, A., Strawn, L. K., Chapman, B. J., Rodrigues, C., & Dunn, L. L. (2023). Adenosine Triphosphate Bioluminescence is a Poor Indicator of Listeria spp. Presence in Distribution Centers Handling Fresh Produce. International Association of Food Protection, 43(1), 33–39.
  • Kirchner, M., Everhart, S., Doring, L., Smits, C., Faircloth, J., Duong, M., … Schaffner, D. (2022). Cross-Contamination to Surfaces in Consumer Kitchens with MS2 as a Tracer Organism in Ground Turkey Patties. Journal of Food Protection, 85(11), 1594–1603.
  • Townsend, A., Strawn, L. K., Chapman, B. J., Yavelak, M., Mishra, A., & Dunn, L. L. (2022). Factors that predict Listeria prevalence in distribution centers handling fresh produce. Food Microbiology, 107.
  • Shumaker, E. T., Kirchner, M., Cates, S. C., Shelley, L., Goulter, R., Goodson, L., … Chapman, B. (2022). Observational Study of the Impact of a Food Safety Intervention on Consumer Poultry Washing. Journal of Food Protection, 85(4), 615–625.
  • Townsend, A., Strawn, L. K., Chapman, B. J., & Dunn, L. L. (2021). A Systematic Review of Listeria Species and Listeria monocytogenes Prevalence, Persistence, and Diversity throughout the Fresh Produce Supply Chain. Foods.
  • Yang, L., Arnold, N. L., Drape, T., Williams, R. C., Archibald, T., Chapman, B., & Boyer, R. (2021). A survey of United States consumer awareness, purchasing, and handling of mechanically tenderized beef products. Food Control, 120.
  • Farber, J. M., Zwietering, M., Wiedmann, M., Schaffner, D., Hedberg, C. W., Harrison, M. A., … Gummalla, S. (2021). Review of Alternative approaches to the risk management of Listeria monocytogenes in low risk foods. Food Control, 123.
  • Kirchner, M., Goulter, R. M., Chapman, B. J., Clayton, J., & Jaykus, L.-A. (2021). [Review of Cross-Contamination on Atypical Surfaces and Venues in Food Service Environments]. Journal of Food Protection
  • Jung, Y., Porto-Fett, A. C. S., Parveen, S., Meredith, J., Shoyer, B. A., Henry, E., … Luchansky, J. B. (2021). Recovery Rate of Cells of the Seven Regulated Serogroups of Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli from Raw Veal Cutlets, Ground Veal, and Ground Beef from Retail Stores in the Mid-Atlantic Region of the United States. Journal of Food Protection, 84(2), 220–232.
  • Duong, M., Shumaker, E. T., Cates, S. C., Shelley, L., Goodson, L., Bernstein, C., … Chapman, B. (2020). An Observational Study of Thermometer Use by Consumers When Preparing Ground Turkey Patties. Journal of Food Protection, 83(7), 1167–1174.
  • Ritter, G. D., Acuff, G. R., Bergeron, G., Bourassa, M. W., Chapman, B. J., Dickson, J. S., … Storrs, C. (2019). [Review of Antimicrobial-resistant bacterial infections from foods of animal origin: understanding and effectively communicating to consumers]. Annals of The New York Academy of Sciences, 1441(1), 40–49.

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BS Molecular Biology and Genetics University of Guelph

MS Plant Agriculture University of Guelph

PhD Plant Agriculture University of Guelph

Area(s) of Expertise

  • Consumer, Retail and Food Safety Culture
  • Home Food Preservation
  • Communicating Food Safety Risk Reduction Messages


Date: 09/01/23 - 8/31/26
Amount: $355,400.00
Funding Agencies: USDA - National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)

As the number of food entrepreneurial businesses increase, there is a need to leverage partnerships among North Carolina extension programs and expand state-wide food safety educational capacity among county agents to support small food business development across the state, including rural and underserved communities. This Collaborative Education and Training project among NC A&T University and NC State University seeks to develop and deliver a food safety (FSMA) educational program targeted towards county agents in support of small food businesses. The objectives include 1) the delivery of a series of food safety webinars in partnership with state regulatory agencies; 2) development and delivery of in-person food safety workshops to cover food safety (FSMA) topics with supplemental information on state-specific regulations; 3) development of a repository of food safety educational and implementation resources; and 4) develop evaluation tools to assess impact throughout the comprehensive and sequential approach to learning. The collaborative efforts of this project bring together multiple programs of the NC Cooperative Extension Program and will provide an established, long-term program to support local food systems in NC and shared across FSMA regional training centers.

Date: 05/01/22 - 4/30/25
Amount: $91,906.00
Funding Agencies: USDA - National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)

NCSU will contribute to efforts towards creation and dissemination of information for the food industry about airborne viruses. This will include reviewing research results from collaborating institutions, and their implications. This may involve packaging the information as webinars, training materials, handbooks and social media outreach. NCSU will leverage the existing FoodCoVNET infrastructure to reach food industry partners and stakeholders to inform key decision makers in this field. NCSU will also serve as an advisor to guide collaborating institutions on the needs and challenges being faced in the food industry, particularly the meat processing industry, with regards to airborne viruses. This will contribute to determine the construction of the model and guide subsequent research approaches at other institutions.

Date: 09/30/22 - 9/29/24
Amount: $145,752.00
Funding Agencies: Food and Nutrition Service/Department of Agriculture

This proposed research will provide the USDA FSIS with useful information on what types of labeling messages, formats, and design elements demonstrate the most potential for consumer uptake of safe food handling practices. The proposed research will utilize listening sessions, focus groups, and web surveys to select potential labels to evaluate during meal preparation observation studies in consumer-style test kitchens.

Date: 09/01/20 - 8/31/24
Amount: $115,000.00
Funding Agencies: USDA - National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)

The goal of this work is to develop current food safety training curricula to be consumed in Virtual Reality and other innovative media for small and mid-size farmers, producers, and processors with a specific focus given to sustainable, organic, diversified, and other niche practices. These niche groups include farmers market vendors, users of food hubs and shared-use value-added facilities and specialty growers such as hydroponic and aquaponic operations. Scope of Work The scope of work for the project ????????????????Producer Outreach, Education, and Training to Enhance Food Safety Practices Among Small and Medium Sized Growers??????????????? includes work in NC State University will be responsible for the following: ??????????????? Help identify farms and operations where video could be shot ??????????????? Aid in development of technical curriculum and food safety plan guidance to be delivered in VR ??????????????? Incorporate and deliver VR trainings as part of their current training efforts (total of 10 trainings in years 2 and 3) ??????????????? Provide information from trainings to RTI as needed for evaluation of impact ??????????????? Participate on regular conference calls to report progress and discuss the project ??????????????? Assist with writing of manuscripts and other relevant documents to the project ??????????????? Provide progress reports to RTI All the activities will be conducted under the leadership of RTI and in coordination with other partners, USDA-NIFA and any additional partners or advisors selected by USDA-NIFA.

Date: 09/01/22 - 5/31/24
Amount: $10,000.00
Funding Agencies: USDA - National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)

There are numerous land-grant institutions with established food safety niches within communities throughout the U.S. in various areas, including home food preservation, consumer food handling, retail/food service food safety, and small home-based/cottage food businesses. While food safety programming needs have increased (COVID-19 impacts, the increase in home food preparation and preservation, and the changing nature of the food system), attrition of expertise through retirement and resource allocation has proven challenging to the continuity and progression of food safety extension and research activities. Specifically, existing resources like the National Center for Home Food Preservation have experienced a loss of federal support over the past decade. Still, the need for evidence-based and data-supported recommendations and research-tested recipes continues to grow. Over the past decade, federal food safety-funding agencies have also reduced their support of research specific to retail/food service and small food businesses needed for the continued development of extension materials and the training necessary to implement them. The goal of this project is to continue the process of establishing a consortium of land-grant institutions and organizations to advance the science of consumer and retail/food service food safety and share expertise, training, and developed materials across the land-grant system to better support food safety efforts across these sectors.

Date: 01/01/22 - 10/31/23
Amount: $25,000.00
Funding Agencies: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

This case study will evaluate the effectiveness of the Count on Me NC program, a training and marketing campaign that was launched in June 2020 to support the retail food industry when re-opening food establishments during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Count on Me NC program was funded by the NC DHHS and the NC Restaurant and Lodging Association, which resulted in over 7,700 business certifications, nearly 15,000 businesses registered, and reached over 250,000 food handlers to date. Upon re-opening and completing the certification, retail establishments can display their certificate for patrons, demonstrating their commitment to COVID-19 sanitation protocols and patron safety, contributing to a culture of health and safety for NC food establishments. The training program was developed by the Safe Plates team, a part of NC State extension??????????????????s family of evidence-based food safety programming and resources for retail, community and home-based food safety. Safe Plates serves to provide consistent, evidence-based programs that incorporate the available science in food safety targeted to specific audiences. At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Safe Plates team established themselves as one of the leading groups and authorities on SARS-CoV-2 management in the food supply chain to alleviate fears about the food supply. This scenario required speed to address a rapidly growing pandemic in constantly changing conditions. Conducting an evaluation of this program will help identify the parts of the program that worked well, as well as any elements that could be improved for future opportunities that support the retail food industry throughout North Carolina.

Date: 10/01/22 - 9/30/23
Amount: $3,046,262.00
Funding Agencies: USDA - Food and Nutrition Services (FNS)

The purpose of the SNAP-Education grant delivered by the Steps to Health team is to deliver nutrition and physical activity education to limited resource audience at the individual level and provide multi-level strategies/interventions to promote policy, systems, and environmental change across North Carolina, with 100 counties potentially receiving high levels of intervention.

Date: 09/01/20 - 8/31/23
Amount: $1,000,000.00
Funding Agencies: USDA - National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)

This project will leverage existing food safety networks to rapidly address SARS-CoV-2 concerns within the food industry by evaluating practices and confirming efficacy through laboratory research on spread, inactivation and transfer to aid in future risk management decisions. The goal is to reduce the risk of COVID-19 impacts within the food supply chain through laboratory-informed risk-based decision making.

Date: 09/01/20 - 8/31/23
Amount: $281,290.00
Funding Agencies: Gojo Industries, Inc.

In healthcare settings, Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizers (ABHS) are viewed as a convenient and effective method for hand hygiene when soap and water is not available and when hands are not visibly soiled. Its use in these situations is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and is backed by numerous studies demonstrating efficacy in these settings. In food settings (e.g., retail food establishments), the use of ABHS in lieu of handwashing with soap and water is not allowed, even when hands are not visibly soiled. The FDA Food Code only allows for use of ABHS by a food handler only after a proper handwash with soap and water is performed. While a large body of scientific evidence has demonstrated equivalency of ABHS to handwash for bacterial removal, this data is generally not bridged to food handling settings. The main criticism of these studies is that the impact of a soil load was not assessed, and its generally thought that food handlers will more frequently experience heavily soiled, which will negatively impact the efficacy of the ABHS. The purpose of this study is to determine bacterial loads on hands of volunteers during meal preparation when no hand hygiene intervention is used. All studies will be completed using volunteers from a food handling background in a simulated (e.g., test kitchen) food handling environment.

Date: 07/01/20 - 7/01/23
Amount: $120,538.00
Funding Agencies: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)

The work covered under this agreement is relevant to several APHIS goals. The work will generate important animal pathogen data and analysis relevant to goat health and welfare nation-wide (APHIS Goal 2). The data generated will facilitate a larger degree of goat surveillance, preparedness, response and control programs across the country, address zoonotic disease issues and incidence, and thereby protect the health of U.S. agricultural resources (APHIS Goal 6).

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