Last week the agriculture secretary Ann Veneman announced a unified food safety research agenda to 'improve the efficiency and effectiveness of food safety programmes. One of a series of measures to boost food inspection systems and 'enhance food safety.'
"Through a unified research effort we will continue to make progress to sustain and increase food safety," the secretary told listeners last week.
At the same time, the US Department of Agriculture 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," the USDA said in a statement.
The agenda, developed with the USDA's Research, Education, and Economics (REE) mission area, the USDA's office of Food Safety, as well as other government food safety agencies and stakeholders, includes a variety of measures.
Research in the food safety arena will look at virulence and genetic characteristics related to pathogenicity for E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes and other foodborne pathogens to identify targeted control measures. In addition, to 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, as a nod to mad cow disease, develop rapid and sensitive detection methods for abnormal prions to prevent the possible spread of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies.