U.S — Dr. Vanessa Coffman , has joined the STOP Foodborne Illness, the national nonprofit public health organization dedicated to the prevention of illness and death from foodborne pathogens, fraternity  as Director of the Alliance.

The Alliance is an initiative between STOP and 15 leading food companies committed to strengthening food safety culture. Alliance members include Walmart, Costco, Kellogg’s, Amazon, Coca-Cola, Conagra, among others.

Coffman joins STOP following her post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Illinois Chicago where she conducted research on the impact of nitrate-contaminated water on childhood health, and had her findings published in Environmental Health Perspectives and Environment International. She formerly worked at STOP as the senior policy coordinator where she routinely worked with policymakers in an array of government agencies and with congressional leaders. She earned her doctorate in environmental epidemiology from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health where she led research on pork production and worker and community health. She also holds a master’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley in Global Public Health and the Environment. 

“Vanessa’s proven ability to work with colleagues and collaborators makes her the ideal person to lead the STOP Alliance. Her commitment to public health and food safety is evident from her academic and professional work. We’re delighted to have her back at STOP.”

Mitzi Baum, CEO, STOP Foodborne Illness


In addition to her work in the United States, Coffman has conducted research for the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization in Sierra Leone and co-directed an outreach program in Bolivia.

“I’m excited to use my scientific knowledge of food safety issues in combination with my policy experience to make actionable change. The Alliance is an exciting new venture that will make large and lasting impacts on the safety of our food system. I’m thrilled to be back at STOP and lead this unique and powerful collaboration.”

Vanessa Coffman, Director, STOP Foodborne Illness Alliance


Founded in 1993 by individuals and families who had directly experienced serious illnesses and deaths associated with E. coli O157:H7 and other deadly bacteria, the organization has supported and represented illness survivors, advanced public understanding of foodborne illness, and supported public policies and industry practices that strengthen prevention.  

Over the years, engagement by STOP constituents with farmers, food companies, and industry associations on the human dimension of food safety have shown how the unique voice of those directly affected by foodborne illness can contribute to strengthening food safety culture and practices within food businesses, pushing companies to go beyond the minimum required by regulations.

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