USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has updated its research priorities to keep pace with ever-changing issues and opportunities in food safety and public health related to the meat, poultry and egg products FSIS regulates.
Scientific research and resources from outside the agency complement internal efforts to ensure that food safety inspection aligns with existing and emerging risks across the farm-to-table continuum.
The agency's priorities are presented as suggestions for researchers interested in pursuing food safety objectives that are relevant to FSIS regulated products. This list provides useful guidance to researchers that are preparing grants for submission to agencies that fund food safety research, such as USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture, scientific academies and private foundations. The list also provides suggestions for academic faculty and students that are looking for relevant food safety research topics. Although FSIS is not a research-funding organization, the list of agency priorities helps promote exploration into those areas.
Examples of current research that supports the agency's priorities include a 5-year, $25 mill. grant from NIFA, awarded earlier this year, involving 10 universities and 14 lead researchers studying Shiga-toxin producing E. coli. USDA's Agricultural Research Service launched an examination into the identification of factors that enable strains of Salmonella in ground turkey to induce foodborne illness.
FSIS convenes an internal Research Priorities Panel to review the priorities and to identify potential additions to the priorities list. The panel includes representatives from all FSIS disciplines. The panel meets every six months, solicits updates from program areas and stakeholders, and then votes on updates to the priorities list. The recommended updates are vetted through the FSIS Data Coordinating Committee and the Agency's Management Council.