On Tuesday morning the Commissioners Court approved a state grant application for the Denton County Health Department to hire a foodborne illness specialist.
The new epidemiologist will investigate, monitor and track foodborne illness and disease in the county ranging from food poisoning cases to serious problems like Salmonella, E. Coli and the Norovirus.
Currently, the county does track cases of foodborne illness and investigate the causes, but it is done by general epidemiologists and county staff, who leaders said are generally busy with seasonal illness and other day-to-day functions.
County Health Director, Dr. Bing Burton, said the new staff member will be able to focus specifically on the food related issues.
"We can expand that; we can do a better job there, and hopefully prevent some disease," said Burton.
The state grant will give the county $32,398 for this year to establish the position, pay a salary to the new staff member and provide the tools needed for the work.
Dr. Burton told the commissioners that he's confident the state will continue funding the grant after the first year and the position can continue as long as they do.