FDA awards $41 million to support food safety initiatives

Posted: 9 November 2022 | | No comments yet

The University of Maryland has been given $41 million by the FDA to research food-related illnesses and develop a public health policy.

US Food an Drug Administration

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has awarded the University of Maryland (UMD) $41 million in a cooperative agreement to research food safety initiatives.

The funding will support UMD in providing scientific information to fight food-related illness and enable the development of a sound public health policy.

The UMD has a partnership with the Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (JIFSAN) – an FDA Center of Excellence that combines the insight of the federal agency with UMD researchers. Its purpose is to promote research, education and outreach in food safety, security and applied nutrition.

“This enduring partnership and funding will allow us to continue our collaborative research efforts between UMD and the FDA,” said Jianghong Meng, a JIFSAN Director and Professor of Nutrition and Food Science.

JIFSAN has developed partnerships with the food industry, government and other stakeholders in support of the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act. This Act focuses on preventing food safety problems before they occur through emphasising surveillance systems on foodborne illnesses and outbreaks.

“We are in a new era of food safety where better protections and preventative measures are more important than ever. The last few years have shown that as a community we must all work together to eradicate illness and disease,” continued Meng.

According to UMD, the award will be used to grow several programmes, including a congressional mandate on imported aquacultured shrimp, which supports the FDA in regulating the sourcing and importing of shrimp to the US.

Additionally, JIFSAN will conduct multi-institutional, multidisciplinary research projects and develop mechanisms for the exchange of technical information and scientific concepts. It will also continue to develop education and outreach programmes with other nations that will work to enhance the FDA’s goal to improve US health.

The funding comes at an opportune time as JIFSAN is currently preparing to move its offices and facilities during November 2022 to a new location at UMD. This shift will facilitate the use of a microbiology laboratory which will be used for research and training in whole genome sequencing as well as foodborne pathogen research.

“The renewal of this award is a timely confirmation and speaks to the significance of the work our University of Maryland faculty, staff and students do in partnership with the US FDA to improve and better the lives of the public,” concluded Meng.