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    Food Safe House

    Spring 2014

    By Marcia Faye

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    The unremarkable, plain-as-vanilla exterior of Building 91E, part of the IIT Institute for Food Safety and Health (IFSH) on Moffett Campus in Bedford Park, Ill., belies the intensity of the activity taking place inside this one-of-a-kind facility.

    The building's first floor features the unique Biosafety Level 3 (BSL-3) Biocontainment Pilot Plant. With its companion BSL-3 Laboratory, the combined facility is specifically designed to study the behavior of pathogens in real-world food-processing conditions. The pilot plant can handle large volumes of hazardous agents affecting mainly produce and is outfitted with a room-sized flume for washing fruits and vegetables. It can also accommodate special equipment, such as an extruder for raw materials testing.

    The building's second floor is equally noteworthy.

    "You know how big the furnace room is in your house?" asks Biosafety Officer Margaret Juergensmeyer. "Imagine if your furnace room had the same square footage as your house. That's what it takes to maintain a BSL-3 facility."

    Safe House
    Photo: Michael Goss

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