Internship ‘Emerging food safety risks in the pork supply chain’

We are looking for an MSc student with knowledge of data science or artificial intelligence that would like to contribute to a safer pork production. The student should preferably have experience with text mining/natural language processing.

Pork production starts at the pig farm where pigs are raised until they reach the desired slaughter weight. At the pig farm, several food safety hazards may occur that may end up in the final products. These hazards may be present in the feed (e.g. pesticides) but may also be taken up by the environment (e.g. zoonotic pathogens that are spread by vermin). Additionally, pigs are treated with veterinary drugs when they are ill. Residues of these veterinary drugs may subsequently end up in the final product.

Changes in and around the pig supply chain

Pig farmers are aware of these hazards and take actions to minimise the food safety risks. However, changes in and around the pig supply chain may have an influence in the occurrence of food safety hazards. For example, climate change may result in increased fungal growth due to higher temperatures. Mycotoxins produced by these fungi can then end up in the feed and eventually in the pork meat. Furthermore, persistent problems in pig farming may result in the use of illegal or unwanted products which may ultimately lead to food safety risks.

The aim of the current project is to use machine learning techniques that can screen social media such as twitter or internet fora to identify emerging risks relevant for the pig supply chain.