ST. CLOUD - Dr. David Acheson, an authority with 30 years in the field of food borne pathogens, is the keynote speaker of St. Cloud State University's inaugural Food Microbiology Symposium.

Addressing food industry professionals with his talk, "What's New in Food Safety," Dr. Acheson explained the Food Safety Modernization Act, a law signed by President Obama in 2011 and considered the most sweeping reform in food safety and regulation since the 1930s.

Dr. Acheson says one of the most crucial elements of the new law is the fact that the FDA now has the power to order recalls of contaminated food, which, believe it or not, is something they weren't able to do before 2011.

He adds, the FDA is now able to detain food products they believe to be sub-standard, before they even get to the public.

Dr. Acheson said it's unclear how the election will impact parts of the act not yet signed into law.

In his talk, Dr. Acheson also tackled the topic of global food supplies and how new practices in the Untied States are affecting importation and screening of food products.

According to Centers for Disease Control statistics, 1 out of 6 people in the United States suffer from food borne illness every year - of those, about 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 will die.

The Food Microbiology Symposium runs through Wednesday, October 17 at SCSU's Atwood Memorial Center.