USDA awards $24 million in food safety/nutrition grants

November 29, 2017

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has released funds to support research, education and Extension projects that promote a safe, nutritious food supply. The funding is made possible through NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) program, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

“NIFA support enables scientists to investigate and develop innovative approaches to detect and control microbial and other contaminants in our food,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy.

These awards are made through two grant programs: AFRI Foundational: Food Safety, Nutrition and Health, and the AFRI Food Safety Challenge Area and are intended to increase understanding of the microbial, chemical, and physical safety and quality of foods, as well as protect consumers from contaminants at every stage of the food chain, from production to consumption.

As part of NIFA’s partnership with the U.S.-Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund, the University of California, Davis, will study how harmful salmonella bacteria colonize lettuce crops. The results may inform pre-harvest food safety methods in the fresh produce industry.

This set of awards also includes a project where University of Minnesota researchers will investigate the use of cold plasma technology to decontaminate food and food-processing surfaces. Ohio State University researchers will develop BPA (bisphenol A) free coatings to improve the safety and maintain the shelf life of canned foods. BPA is an industrial chemical thought to have significant negative effects on human health.

The projects are being funded by money appropriated during fiscal year 2016 and include 59 grants, totaling $24 million. They include:

AFRI Foundational Program: Improving Food Safety

  • University of California, Davis, California, $495,482
  • University of California, Davis, California, $499,893
  • California State University, Northridge, California, $150,000
  • University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut, $150,000
  • University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut, $150,000
  • University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware, $230,690
  • University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, $500,000
  • Florida International University, Miami, Florida, $258,253
  • Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, Illinois, $258,253
  • University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, $13,500
  • Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, $498,599
  • Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, $499,118
  • University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota, $498,234
  • University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, Mississippi, $500,000
  • USDA Agricultural Research Service, Stoneville, Mississippi, $489,804
  • Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, $50,000
  • Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio, $258,253
  • University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina, $499,862
  • Texas A&M AgriLife Research, College Station, Texas, $230,691
  • Partnership for Food Safety Education, Arlington, Virginia, $49,984

AFRI Foundational Program: Function and Efficacy of Nutrients

  • University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, $25,802
  • University of California, Davis, California, $469,257
  • University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut, $150,000
  • Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, $470,000
  • University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois, $504,616
  • University of Illinois, Chicago, Illinois, $470,000
  • Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts, $471,657
  • Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts, $469,884
  • Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts, $469,994
  • Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana, $150,000
  • University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska, $469,949
  • Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, $470,667
  • Pennsylvania State University, State College, Pennsylvania, $469,648
  • University of Rhode Island, Kingston, Rhode Island, $470,000
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia, $505,587

AFRI Foundational Program: Improving Food Quality

  • California State University, Los Angeles, California, $149,998
  • University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut, $149,801
  • University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, $404,435
  • Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, $452,675
  • Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, $363,822
  • Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, $361,237
  • University of Maine, Orono, Maine, $8,781
  • Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, Mississippi, $454,986
  • Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, New Jersey, $454,735
  • Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, $455,000
  • The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, $454,964
  • The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, $441,291
  • Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma, $149,980
  • Utah State University, Logan, Utah, $454,404
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia, $454,741
  • University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, $454,361

AFRI Foundational Program: Understanding Antimicrobial Resistance

  • Beckman Research Institute of the City of Hope, Duarte, California, $387,518
  • Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, $499,982

AFRI Food Safety Challenge Area: Effective Mitigation Strategies for Antimicrobial Resistance

  • Iowa State University of Science and Technology, Ames, Iowa, $1,199,994
  • Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, $50,000
  • University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska, $1,200,000
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia, $1,200,000
  • University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, $1,200,000

AFRI Food Safety Challenge Area: Assessment of the AFRI Food Safety Challenge Area

  • Research Triangle Institute, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, $300,000

More information on these projects is available on the NIFA website.

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