Karina Walker, a graduate student pursuing a Master in Nutritional Sciences at West Virginia University shares her dreams of a food-safe and natural world below.
Ever since completing my first nutrition course, I have known that a future career in the health and food field was where I belonged. I love to discuss how eating a balanced diet can affect many parts of our health, from our ability to sleep well to our chronic disease risk. However, I also emphasize that before eating nutritious foods, we must first be sure they aren’t actually dangers in disguise. Consuming a salad packed with fresh vegetables and topped with salmon would make a great lunch choice for you and your family; but if the vegetables weren’t washed thoroughly or the salmon was stored at an improper temperature, a once healthy meal quickly morphs into a threat instead of a treat to our bodies. It is imperative that we educate families on how to not only eat healthy but also how to prepare, handle, cook and store their foods. In addition, consumers must understand the significance of food recalls and how to properly react to them. Many people will continue to eat recalled foods while others will avoid the food and foods similar to it that were not even involved in the recall long after it is over. As an aspiring registered dietitian, I am hoping to help clear this confusion and advocate diets that are both junk-free and foodborne pathogen-free. My master’s thesis research of developing an antimicrobial fruit wash coincides with this goal. The wash will be made using citrus essential oils and organic acids. These recognizable ingredients agree with families’ desire to purchase more natural products. I am happy my education and passion can combine as there is nothing I’d rather do than promote and contribute to a world where the combination of practicing food safety and consuming nutritious food has become the norm at every meal.