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NEWS RELEASE


USDA Awards More Than $14 Million in Itegrated Food Safety Grants

Release No. 0370.03

Alisa Harrison (202) 720-4623
John Snyder (202) 720-2047

WASHINGTON, October 30, 2003 – Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman today announced that more than $14 million has been awarded to 26 colleges and universities throughout the U.S. and its territories. The National Integrated Food Safety Initiative (NIFSI) will fund 34 new integrated food safety grants for Fiscal Year 2003.

“These projects address a broad spectrum of food safety concerns -- from on-farm production, post-harvest processing and distribution, to food selection, preparation, and consumption,” said Veneman. “This work continues to support this Administration's efforts to enhance the protection and safety of agriculture and food supply.”

Each year NIFSI awards these funds to faculty at land-grant and non-land colleges and universities to ensure that valuable research, education and extension knowledge is transferred to teachers, scientists, health professionals, researchers, farmers, food processors, foodservice workers, consumers, and all others making crucial decisions about the safety of the U.S. food supply. An average of $400,000 was awarded to each university to support 3-year food safety projects that used an integrated approach to solving problems in applied research, education, and extension.

The Fiscal Year 2003 awards are as follows:

ALABAMA

Food Safety Professional Development for Early Childhood Educators--$500,000 to Alabama State University to build a statewide infrastructure to teach food safety to early childhood educators.

CALIFORNIA

Survey and Education on Detection and Health Hazards of Unapproved Antibiotic Residues in Imported Seafoods--$446,074 to the University of Southern California to provide the seafood industry with tools to monitor the presence of unapproved antibiotics in imported seafood.

Multifaceted Food Allergy Education Program--$500,000 to the University of California to design a food allergy education program for foodservice workers and customers with severe food allergies.

Enhancing the Microbial Safety of Fresh and Fresh-Cut Melon--$356,184 to the University of California-Davis to evaluate the use of sanitizers and disinfectants to kill harmful bacteria in melons and other produce.

FLORIDA

Risk Assessment of Tanker-Truck Sanitation as Related to the Secure Transportation of Juices and Dairy Products--$500,000 to the University of Florida to investigate and evaluate the safety of tanker-truck transport of juices and fluid milk.

Foods Safety Education for the Hard-to-Reach and Underserved--$500,000 to Florida International University to investigate unsafe food handling practices among high-risk consumers and evaluate changes in their food handling practices after receiving food safety education.

GEORGIA

National Center for Home Food Processing and Preservation--$356,184 to the University of Georgia's National Center for Home Food Processing and Preservation to provide consumers with current, reliable and scientifically validated guidelines on home canning, freezing, and drying of foods.

Tracking of Protozoan Parasites in Shellfish--$500,000 to the University of Georgia to evaluate methods to determine the most sensitive techniques for detecting parasites in contaminated shellfish and teach those techniques to shellfish farmers and harvesters.

GUAM

Food Safety Education and Training for Consumers and Food Establishment in the U.S. Territory of Guam--$89,958 to the University of Guam to enhance food safety education for children in schools, consumers, and foodservice workers.

HAWAII

Managing Food Allergens: Awareness and Training Programs for Handlers of Ethnic Foods--$196,000 to the University of Hawaii, Manoa to raise awareness and develop educational training programs on food allergens in ethnic foods.

INDIANA

Use of gfp and lux (genetic tracking material) to Track Pathogen Contamination, Growth and Inactivation on Produce Contaminated via Manure/Water (Farm to Fork)--$500,000 to Purdue University to improve food safety by applying laboratory research tools that detect and track contamination and growth of pathogenic bacteria in foods.

Impact of Foodservice Manager Credentialing on Food Safety--$129,000 to Purdue University to enhance knowledge, training and credentialing of food inspectors, regulators, foodservice workers, and educators.

IOWA

Prioritizing Opportunities to Reduce Foodborne Disease--$500,000 to Iowa State University to develop a foodborne illness risk ranking and decision framework for analyzing hazards and reducing foodborne risks.

Post Packaging Irradiation Combined with Modified Atmosphere Packaging for Control of Bacterial Pathogens on Meat Products--$500,000 to Iowa State University to investigate the combined use of irradiation and modified atmospheric packaging to reduce pathogens in meat products.

MASSACHUSETTS

Food Safety Training and Certification for Under-Educated, Limited English Proficient School Food Service Personnel--$500,000 to the University of Massachusetts to improve opportunities for successful completion of food manager certification among foodservice workers with low literacy skills.

MICHIGAN

Optimizing the Design and Operation of Commercial Cooking Systems for Ready-to-eat Meat and Poultry Products--$500,000 to Michigan State University to improve the design and operation of commercial cooking systems to improve the safety of ready-to-eat meat and poultry products.

NEBRASKA

Food Safety: Life-Long Learning through Teacher Training--$400,000 to the University of Nebraska to provide teachers with technical resources, tools and support for delivering effective food safety training and education to students.

Intervention Strategies to Reduce Escherichia Coli O157:H7 in Beef Feedyards--$500,000 to the University of Nebraska to field test two intervention strategies to control E. coli O157H:7 in commercial cattle feedyards and to share the results with interested users.

NEW JERSEY

Food Handling and Consumption Knowledge, Attitudes, and Behaviors of Young Adults and the Impact of a Food Safety Social Marketing Campaign--$500,000 to Rutgers University to study obstacles to the adoption of safe food practices by young adults in an effort to improve the effectiveness of food safety interventions for youths.

NEW MEXICO

Science-Based Food Safety Education: Interactive Media Development for Hard-to-Reach and High-Risk Adolescents--$450,000 to New Mexico State University to develop science-based food safety training and education for high-risk and under-served adolescents.

NEW YORK

Global Good Agricultural Practices Conference to Explore the Impact of Current Research and Extension Programs--$50,000 to Cornell University to conduct a global conference to provide state-of-the-art scientific data on Good Agricultural Practices (GAPS) that improve the microbiological safety of fresh fruits and vegetables.

L. Monocytogenes in Food Processing Plants: Development and Implementation of Science-Based Environmental Testing and Control Strategies--$500,000 to Cornell University to investigate control strategies for Listeria monocytogenes in selected seafood, dairy, and meat processing plants.

NORTH CAROLINA

Fresh Produce Food Safety Training Program and Curriculum Development for the Southeast--$500,000 to North Carolina State University to disseminate information about the safety of fresh produce and to provide formal and informal classroom instruction on Good Agricultural Practices (GAPS).

Tracking the Source of Enteric Pathogens in Surface Waters--$450,000 to North Carolina State University to develop protocols for tracing the origin of fecal waste in surface waters, and to teach those protocols to shellfish sanitation workers.

Chinese-language Food Safety Training Program for Foodservice Workers--$445,000 to North Carolina State University to develop and evaluate the effectiveness of an educational program that addresses the food safety training and certification needs of Chinese-speaking foodservice workers in the U.S.

NORTH DAKOTA

United Tribal Technical College's Integrated Food Safety Initiative for American Indian Communities--$400,000 to the United Tribal Technical College to develop and expand food safety education to high-risk and under-served American Indian students and community members.

OHIO

Safety of Foods Processed by Four Alternatives Processing Technologies--$405,000 to Ohio State University to investigate alternative processing technologies that improve the safety, nutrition, and quality of selected food products.

PENNSYLVANIA

Multiple Strategies for Control of Patulin in Apples and Apple Products - An Integrated Regional Research and Extension Project--$500,000 to Pennsylvania State University to develop mycotoxin control strategies to prevent the growth of Penicillium expansum on apples and to establish a safe level of patulin (a mycotoxin) in apple juice during processing.

RHODE ISLAND

Garden to Table: Food Safety Practices of Home Gardeners--$384,000 to the University of Rhode Island to use the GAPS (Good Agricultural Practices) Model to integrate food safety principles into production of fresh fruits and vegetables by the home gardener.

SOUTH DAKOTA

Reducing the Foodborne Illness Risks Associated with Direct Marketed in South Dakota--$500,000 to South Dakota State University to investigate the risks associated with food handling practices among Native Americans through surveys, interviews, observations, and microbial analyses.

TENNESSEE

Assessing Risk and Communicating Food Irradiation Benefits to High Risk Consumers-- $89,958 to Tennessee State University to assess food safety risks faced by high-risk consumers, and the effectiveness of different types of food safety interventions among those high-risk groups.

A Multi-Faceted Approach to Improve Food Safety for Child Care Providers--$430,000 to the University of Tennessee to develop and deliver a comprehensive food safety education program to improve food safety knowledge and practices of teachers, cooks, and childcare providers.

TEXAS

Improving Safety of Complex Food Items Using Electron Beam Technology--$356,184 to Texas A&M University to study irradiated food and to develop guidelines for their general use.

VERMONT

An Interactive Online Food Safety Education Program for Middle School Children--$500,000 to the University of Vermont to develop and assess the effectiveness of an interactive, online food safety course for middle school children.

The National Integrated Food Safety Initiative, a part of USDA's Integrated Research, Education, and Extension Competitive Grants Program (IREECGP), is administered through the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES). CSREES is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief research and education agency.