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NIFA Research Supports Safer Food from the Field to the Table

Nifa Author
Rachel Dotson, Public Affairs Specialist (Social Media)

As we prepare for upcoming holiday gatherings, we also prepare for the holiday meals. During this time surrounded by family and friends, it is important to be mindful of food safety.

The USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) supports research to educate consumers and find innovative solutions to ensure our food supply is safe as it travels from the field to the table.

Don’t Wash Your Poultry
If chicken or turkey will be featured on your holiday menu, North Carolina State University has some tips in preparing this dish. Research has found washing poultry prior to cooking increases the risk of foodborne illness. The bacteria from the bird can travel up to three feet from where it is washed. The safest way to eliminate bacteria is to put the raw bird directly into the cooking pan. Below are suggested tips for preparing poultry.
 
  • Don’t wash raw poultry.
  • Clean and sanitize utensils and work surfaces after preparing raw poultry.
  • Wash and dry hands after handling and preparing poultry as well as following dishwashing.
  • When drying hands, use clean or one-use towels.
 
Smart Surface Coatings Protect Fruits and Vegetables
Texas A&M University
is leveraging a NIFA grant to support its “Next-Generation Smart Surfaces and Coatings to Improve Food Safety and Water Efficiency of U.S. Specialty Crops.” The university team “are tackling food safety issues by developing novel spraying or dipping solutions and coatings to improve the microbiological safety and hygiene of farming tools and accessories used in harvesting.” Read more on this project here.
 
Multistate Hatch Grant Funds New Food Safety Methods
Foodborne illnesses affect 48 million Americans each year. Thirty-two Land-grant universities are collaborating on innovative food safety methods that kill pathogens and extend shelf life without damaging food color, texture, and flavor. Check out the universities’ research here.
 
Alabama Extension Creates Food Safety Training Program
The Alabama Cooperative Extension System is creating a food safety training program to help minority farmers tackle food safety and processing issues they face as they expand their operation. Read more on the training program here.
 
Check out a few more food safety projects funded by NIFA below.
 
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