Stellenbosch University gathered in celebration of the launch of the book, ‘Living with little Monsters’, a scientific household manual written for the everyday consumer which introduces the reader to a variety of potentially harmful microorganisms.
“There is no point in scientists having all this information about germs if they don’t share it to make the world a better place.“ – Prof Stephen Forsythe: Living with little Monsters, retired professor of Microbiology from Nottingham Trent University and member of the advisory board of SU’s Department of Food Science.
Food scientists Dr. Michaela van den Honert and Prof. Pieter Gouws of the Centre for Food Safety (CFS) at Stellenbosch University have compiled the most recent scientific data to create a comprehensive list of descriptions of specific microbes that the everyday consumer should be aware of, including the good and the bad. By doing this, they can better enable regular consumers and their families to live healthier and safer daily lives.
The far-reaching coronavirus pandemic highlighted the critical need for a better understanding of microorganisms, whether viruses or bacteria, to develop better practices for reducing the risk of serious infections. Ideally, every household should understand how microorganisms can harm human and animal health.
“It is important that everybody has a basic understanding of the fact that there are microorganisms who live all around us, particularly in food safety. The book is a way of conveying information and sharing it with everybody”, said Dr. van den Honert.
Consumer engagement and awareness are one of the Centre for Food Safety’s main pillars. Living with little Monsters makes complex scientific principles easy to understand and includes various graphic illustrations to convey essential information in a practical way, so that it could easily be applied to the everyday life of the consumer.
Michael Lee, a key contributor to the book enthusiastically states that, “Ignorance in the general population about this microworld is a recipe for disaster, that is why this book could become a life saver. With the help of Living with little Monsters, we can focus on forging a better co-existence with the microbial world.”
“We wrote this book because we believe that everybody has a story to tell, and our story is sharing information about food-borne organisms and sharing information about food safety and related matters. There is so much more in the book, once you start reading you will realise that there is so much more that you need to know, and by reading the book you might change some of your habits.” Prof Pieter Gouws added.
The dean of the Faculty of AgriSciences congratulated the authors for the excellent collaboration. “As I was reading through the book, I could not tell that the chapters were written by different authors, you worked very well as a collective team, the Faculty and University sincerely congratulate you.” said Prof Danie Brink.
Photo credit: Franna Lombard