November 21, 2003



USDA To Unify Food Safety Research Needs of Meat, Poultry & Egg Products

USDA Secretary Ann M. Veneman has 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.


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.


Below is a list of research by the unified agenda, sorted according to prioritisation of research needs and maximization use of available resources: 

    • 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.

    • 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.

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