USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture has announced funding awards totaling nearly $19 million to 36 grantees to ensure a safe and nutritious food supply and while maintaining American agricultural competitiveness.
About $6.7 million of the total will go to antimicrobial resistance strategies, USDA said.
"Increasing food safety continues to be a major focus for USDA, as it directly impacts the health and well-being of all Americans," said Sonny Ramaswamy, NIFA director. "Funding provided to universities supports discoveries of new ways that we can prevent foodborne illnesses and increase the safety of our food production industry."
NIFA made the awards through the AFRI Food Safety program to protect consumers from microbial and chemical contaminants that may occur in the food chain, from production to consumption.
This year, AFRI's Food Safety program is comprised of five sub-programs: Enhancing Food Safety through Improved Processing Technologies; Effective Mitigation Strategies for Antimicrobial Resistance; Identifying and Targeting Food Safety Needs; Improving Food Safety; and Improving Food Quality
Nearly all of the funding has been awarded to colleges and universities. An example of this year's projects includes Washington State University's efforts to discover causes and solutions for AMR impact on dairy farms and calf-rearing ranches by researching the effects of different antibiotics on AMR prevalence, the existence of AMR reservoirs and niches, and the maintenance and spread of AMR throughout the farms and ranches.
In another project, Tennessee State University researchers will focus on implementing a holistic roadmap for accelerating the innovation process in irradiation research, guiding technology development for contaminant treatment.
A complete list of this year's project descriptions is available on the NIFA website.
Successful projects funded in previous years include a project at the University of Nebraska to reduce the occurrence of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli along the entire beef production pathway and other food safety advancements.