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USDA Announces Unified Food Safety Research Agenda / November 19, 2003 / News from the USDA Agricultural Research Service

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USDA Announces Unified Food Safety Research Agenda

Additional Research Needs for Meat, Poultry and Egg Products Outlined

By Jim Core
November 19, 2003

WASHINGTON, Nov. 19--Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman today announced a unified food safety research agenda to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of food safety programs. The research agenda is one of several key initiatives USDA is implementing to enhance food safety and improve food inspection systems.

"Assuring the safety of our food supply is a priority for the Bush Administration," said Veneman. "Through a unified research effort we will continue to make progress to sustain and increase food safety."

USDA also released a list of additional research needs specific to meat, poultry and egg products that the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) will encourage non-governmental entities to address. The government research agenda will complement these efforts by industry and academia.

Dr. Rodney Brown, deputy under secretary for Research, Education, and Economics, and Dr. Garry L. McKee, administrator of the Food Safety and Inspection Service, discussed the agenda during a tour of the Richard B. Russell Research Center in Athens, Ga. USDA's Research, Education, and Economics (REE) mission area worked with USDA's Office of Food Safety, other government food safety agencies and stakeholders to develop the unified research agenda. The unified agenda, which prioritizes research needs and maximizes use of available resources, includes research to:

  • Investigate the ecology, epidemiology, virulence and genetic characteristics related to pathogenicity for E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes and other foodborne pathogens to identify targeted control measures;
  • Develop effective on-farm, feedlot, transportation, handling and other pre-processing intervention strategies for reducing the incidence and levels of antibiotic resistant microorganisms and key foodborne pathogens in meat, poultry, eggs and fresh produce;
  • Develop, validate and transfer technology of new and improved processing methods to reduce or eliminate key foodborne pathogens in meat, poultry, fresh produce, seafood and ready-to-eat foods; and
  • Develop rapid and sensitive detection methods for abnormal prions to prevent the possible spread of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies.

FSIS released a food safety vision document in July that outlines key steps to improve food safety and protect public health. In addition to the research agenda, the vision paper identifies strategies to improve workforce training, streamline technology implementation, identify best management practices and risk analysis coordination.

FSIS is a public health regulatory agency that protects consumers by ensuring that meat, poultry and egg products are safe, wholesome and accurately labeled. FSIS does not conduct its own research. Rather, the agency identifies research necessary to fulfill its public health mission. Within the REE mission area, the Agricultural Research Service is USDA's chief in-house scientific research agency and the Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service is USDA's chief research funding agency.

The complete USDA unified food safety research agenda is available at:

http://www.reeusda.gov/ree/pdf/foodsaf_research.pdf

The research priorities specific to meat, poultry and egg products and the vision document, in addition to other food safety information, are available at:

www.fsis.usda.gov

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Last Modified: 11/25/2003
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