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USDA Awards $5 Million To College, University Food Safety Consortium

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) awarded $5 million to 17 colleges and universities for the establishment of the Food Safety Research and Response Network, which will investigate the pathogens most prevalent in food-related illness.

The network, spearheaded by North Carolina State University, will include a team of more than 50 food safety experts from 18 colleges and universities.

Pathogens like E. coli, salmonella, and campylobactor will be studied to determine where they're found in the environment, how they're sustained, and how they infect herds.

"These projects will help improve food safety by enhancing our research partnerships with the academic community, and establish another tool to aid our response to food-related disease outbreaks," said Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns in a statement.

The group will also serve as a response team that can be mobilized to conduct focused research to control major episodes of food-related illnesses. Episodes could include investigation of health problems associated with agricultural bioterrorism and the deliberate contamination of agricultural commodities.

The 17 other institutions in the project are Cornell University, Iowa State University, McMasters University, Mississippi State University, North Dakota State University, Ohio State University, Tuskegee University, University of Arizona, University of California at Davis, University of California at Berkeley, University of Florida, University of Illinois, University of Kentucky, University of Minnesota, University of Montreal, Washington State University, and West Texas A&M University.
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