The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has awarded nearly $24 million to 35 research projects that aim to improve food safety by helping control microbial and chemical contamination in various foods.

Foodborne illness affects approximately one in six Americans each year, making USDA’s investment in food safety science a high priority that will have direct impact on thousands of lives,” said Sonny Ramaswamy, NIFA director. “Our goal is to reduce the number of illnesses and protect the food supply through research, education and Extension efforts focused on all levels of the food chain — from farm to fork.”

NIFA made the awards through its Agriculture and Food Research Initiative’s (AFRI) Food Safety program. The program’s goal is 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 focused on developing effective mitigation strategies for antimicrobial resistance, understanding the physical and molecular mechanisms of food contamination and improving the safety of fresh and fresh-cut fruits and vegetables. In addition, the program addressed critical and emerging food safety hazards to help prevent contamination and outbreaks.

  • The AFRI Food Safety program comprises four sub-programs:
  • Addressing Critical and Emerging Food Safety Issues
  • Effective Mitigation Strategies for Antimicrobial Resistance
  • Improving the Safety of Fresh and Fresh-Cut Produce
  • Physical and Molecular Mechanisms of Food Contamination

See a full list of the projects here.