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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., & Dunn, L. L. (2021). [Review of 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.
  • Yang, L. L., Khalid, M. L., Duong, M. D., Icessinger, J. B., Ong, B. N., Drape, T. A., … Boyer, R. R. (2019). Consumer Response to Mechanically Tenderized Beef (MTB) and MTB Labels: An Exploratory Focus Group Study. Journal of Food Protection, 82(9), 1484–1495.
  • Luchansky, J. B., Mayhew, M., Jung, Y., Klinedinst, A., Harkins, L., Shane, L. E., … Porto-Fett, A. C. S. (2019). Meat Bars: A Survey To Assess Consumer Familiarity and Preparation Parameters and a Challenge Study To Quantify Viability of Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli Cells during Processing and Storage. Journal of Food Protection, 82(7), 1249–1264.
  • Jung, Y. J., Rupert, C. L., Chapman, B., Porto-Fett, A. C. S., & Luchansky, J. B. (2018). Assessment of microbiological safety and quality of marinades used to treat beef and that were collected over a 12-month period from specialty retailers near Raleigh, North Carolina. Journal of Food Protection, 81(3), 490–496.

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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: 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: 09/01/20 - 8/31/23
Amount: $115,000.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture - National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA 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: 09/01/20 - 8/31/23
Amount: $1,000,000.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture - National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA 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 - 1/31/23
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: 07/16/21 - 1/15/23
Amount: $298,232.00
Funding Agencies: US Food & Drug Administration

The objective of this contract is to equip the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Office of Regulatory Affairs (ORA), Office of Human and Animal Food Operations (OHAFO) staff with the perspective and tools needed to educate industry and adapt to changes from both the New Era initiative and challenges identified during the Agency response to the covid-19 pandemic. Food Safety Culture focuses on farms and facilities that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates accepting responsibility for producing safe foods to keep the American public safe and healthy.

Date: 07/01/20 - 12/31/22
Amount: $120,538.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture - Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA 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).

Date: 09/26/21 - 9/27/22
Amount: $110,124.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA)

With a n e stimated 4 8 m illion f oodborne i llnesses o ccurring i n t he U .S. e ach y ear, f ood safety i s a h igh p riority f or a ny p ublic a gency t hat i s i nvolved w ith t he h andling, preparation a nd d istribution o f f ood. F oodborne i llness i s a f arm-to-fork i ssue a nd because o f t he i ntegrated a nd c omplex p ath o f f ood b etween p rimary p roduction a nd plates, i t i s n ecessary t o c reate, i mplement a nd e valuate r isk r eduction s trategies a nd communicate f ood r isks i n a n i ntegrated f ashion. F ocusing o n e ffective, e vidence-based risk reduction measures (including training) is especially important within schools as that group i s a mongst t he h ighest r isk i ndividuals f or a cquiring a nd s uffering t he e ffects o f foodborne i llnesses. In 2 006, U SDA r equired t hat a ll s chools h ave i n p lace a f ood s afety p lan b ased o n process H ACCP p rinciples. Schools t hat d id n ot m eet t his m andate w ere i n j eopardy losing t heir f ederal f unds. To h elp N orth C arolina s chools m eet t his m andate, t he C hild Nutrition S ervices S ection a t t he N C D epartment o f P ublic I nstruction ( DPI) c ontracted with N C S tate U niversity/NC C ooperative E xtension. D r. B en C hapman h as c ontinued the DPI and NC State/NC Cooperative Extension partnership with contracts since 2011. Due t o t he p andemic o f C OVID-19, t he p riorities f or t he 2 019-2020 y ear s hifted t o accommodate n ew c hallenges f or s chool n utrition. N C S tate d eveloped b est p ractices for m ass f ood d istribution, p rofessional d evelopment a round C OVID-19 m anagement i n school nutrition settings, and began development of a comprehensive plan for long term food d istribution. T he p andemic a lso i nitiated t he n eed f or t ransferring f ood s afety training t o a n o nline p latform, s o w ork b egan t o t ransfer a ll f ood s afety c ourses t o b e delivered e ntirely o r p artially o nline. M oving f orward, N C S tate w ill c ontinue t o o ffer programs i n t his h ybrid f ormat t o i ncrease e fficiency in t raining a s w ell a s t o l imit t he need f or c hanges a midst o ther s ituations t hat m ay a rise.

Date: 09/01/18 - 8/31/22
Amount: $24,000.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture - National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA NIFA)

The overall goal of this Regional Center proposal is to continue to build a collaborative infrastructure in the Southern US to support Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) compliant training, education, extension, outreach, and technical assistance as it relates to the produce industry. The proposed Southern Center includes participation from land-grant institutions in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. It will lead, manage and coordinate regional assistance programs targeted at owners and operators of small and medium-sized farms, beginning farmers, socially disadvantaged farmers, small food processors, and small fruit and vegetables merchant wholesalers affected by FSMA requirements. In addition to land-grant institutions, established partnerships with stakeholder groups including state and local regulators, community-based and non-governmental organizations will be leveraged to maximize training effectiveness and delivery opportunities. The goal will be accomplished through the following specific objectives: 1. Develop a cadre of PSA and FSPCA certified trainers within the Southern US who are focused on supporting the produce industry. 2. Develop and deliver region and stakeholder specific education, training curricula, and technical assistance programs. 3. Evaluate the impact of Southern Center education, training and technical assistance programs. Programs will focus on helping audiences understand and interpret FSMA regulations and implement systems to meet requirements across the respective environments, agricultural production and processing systems in the Southern US to ensure co-management of food safety, conservation systems and ecological health. In addition, the University will serve as the lead institution for all four Regional Centers (Southern, North East, North Central and Western. It will manage the national priorities as well as facilitate communication and information sharing between the centers.

Date: 05/01/18 - 4/30/22
Amount: $278,799.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture - National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA NIFA)

There is an urgent need for food safety professionals who can effectively teach, train, and influence food safety behaviors across food manufacturing, retail, foodservice, and higher education settings. In considering the broader agricultural challenge of providing enough food to feed a rapidly increasing world population, it is essential that we have a workforce equipped with the appropriate skills and behaviors necessary to improve the safety, quality and sustainability of our food supply chain. However, many existing education and training programs disseminate knowledge but do not provide sufficient skills or influence attitudes, social norms or self-efficacies to the extent that they impact skills development and actual food safety behaviors. This is partly due to the fact that it is often too cost prohibitive for instructors to expose students to the real-world applications of their subject matter and facilitate hands-on experiences, as field trips cost significant amounts of time and money and increasingly more food companies are not willing to provide tours of the facilities (due to the food safety risks and also the fact that they are so frequently audited that their time to provide tours is limited). Meanwhile, there is an exciting opportunity for today’s undergraduates to leverage the trending emergence of virtual reality (VR) as an innovative instructional technology for solving these education and training obstacles through the development of case studies in VR. The long term goals of this project are to reduce the number of foodborne illnesses and food recall events in the food industry and improve the the sustainability of the food supply chain by developing future food safety professionals’ abilities to deliver effective training programs. We will recruit eight (8) students into a 10-week Food Science Education Summer Scholars program that develops their abilities to design, develop and evaluate case studies that enhance the effects of existing education and extension curricula on skills development and behavioral objectives for three (3) consecutive years. The objectives of this program are to: Recruit 24 students from across the country to a Food Science Summer Scholars program at NC State University by recruiting eight (8) students from across the country per year for three (3) consecutive years; Develop the Food Science Summer Scholars’ abilities to design, deliver and evaluate education and training interventions (case studies in virtual reality) that prevent foodborne illnesses and food recall events that are attributed to human error; and Create 12 case study lesson plans, implement them into existing education and training curricula and make them available to instructors in higher education who teach food sanitation courses.

Date: 10/01/20 - 9/30/21
Amount: $2,817,300.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture - Food and Nutrition Service (USDA FNS)

The purpose of the SNAP-Education grant 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.

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