Barbara Kowalcyk

Photo of Barbara Kowalcyk

Ms. Kowalcyk became involved in foodborne illness prevention in 2001 following the death of her 2 ½ year old son, Kevin, from complications due to an E. coli O157:H7 infection. Ms. Kowalcyk has volunteered extensively as a consumer advocate for food safety and co-founded the Center for Foodborne Illness Research & Prevention in 2006. In addition, Ms. Kowalcyk has served on USDA's National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods (NACMCF) since 2005 and serves on the Advisory Board for Georgetown University's Health Policy Institute's Produce Safety Project as well as two National Academies of Science committees. Ms. Kowalcyk has given numerous presentations on food safety at national conferences and food safety forums. In 2008, she participated in the filming of the documentary Food Inc., a film that examines food production in America. . In addition to her extensive experience in food safety advocacy, Ms. Kowalcyk has over 10 years experience as a biostatistician conducting clinical research in the pharmaceutical industry. Ms. Kowalcyk earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Dayton in Mathematics and her Master's in Applied Statistics from the University of Pittsburgh. Ms. Kowalcyk is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Environmental Health with a focus in Epidemiology/Biostatistics at the University of Cincinnati and is a fellow in UC's Molecular Epidemiology in Children's Environmental Health Training Program. She resides in Maineville, Ohio with her husband and three surviving children.

Latest Articles

Co-authored by Michael Kowalcyk Ten years ago Thursday, our 2½-year-old son Kevin died from complications due to an E. coli O157:H7 infection. We later learned that Kevin’s strain of E. coli O157:H7 matched that of a meat recall issued 16 days after he died. Unfortunately, we were never able to conclusively prove that Kevin consumed the recalled meat, which was the requirement to show liability in the state where he died. As many of you…
Like most people, I wear a lot of different hats — mom, wife and what I am most known for — food safety advocate. I am also wearing another hat that I am hoping to put on a shelf by the end of the summer — graduate student. Before I was tragically thrust into the world of food safety, I was a master’s level statistician and had spent my career working in clinical research finding…
My daughter Megan and I picked an interesting week to travel to Europe. We’re in the Netherlands where I’m doing research for my doctorate in environmental health. We were here in the fall of 2010 as well. Unlike last fall, however, we haven’t been able to eat raw produce this trip. At one point or another, cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes and sprouts have been implicated, but none has been confirmed yet as the source (and none…
Editor’s note: If you had a magic wand, how would you conjure up ways to make the food supply safe?  We asked several people to consider the possibilities. Here is another response, from food safety advocate Barbara Kowalcyk, co-founder of the Center for Foodborne Illness Research & Prevention. I was recently asked what I would do if I had a food safety magic wand. For me, that’s a loaded question, and it honestly took my…