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Food Safety

Safeguarding the nation’s food supply requires that the food supply be regulated and monitored according to science-based principles. Ensuring food safety covers a broad range of processes, from on-farm production to processing, distribution, storage, selection , preparation and consumption. NIFA collaborates extensively with other government agencies, universities and colleges, and private-sector partners to safeguard the country’s food supply, prevent foodborne illnesses and educate all food handlers, including consumers.


Please see how food safety fits into the USDA Strategic Plan.

Consumer Resources:  

Food updates from FDA at Food | FDA:  

Food Manufacturing Professional Resources:

  • Closer to Zero - Reducing infant and child exposure to toxic elements and promoting access to nutritious and safe foods

Researcher Resources: 

Importance of Food Safety

Each year, millions of Americans suffer — and thousands die — from foodborne illnesses. This is a preventable problem that is damaging to both individuals and the economy. Ongoing food safety improvements can yield economic and social benefits, in addition to reducing foodborne illnesses.

  • A safer food supply, from farm to table, with minimal loss of productivity
  • Reduced burden on the country’s health care system through improved public health
  • Reduced loss of income and health care costs for the affected individual
  • Enhanced consumer confidence in the U.S. food supply leading to economic stability throughout the food sector

NIFA's Impact

NIFA’s food safety programs seek to reduce the incidence of foodborne illness, improving the safety of the food supply while maintaining a secure supply of healthy choices. NIFA supports efforts to:

  • Reduce food hazards such as disease-causing microorganisms, toxins, allergens, and chemical and physical hazards
  • Educate small producers and processors, low-income families on food safety practices
  • Develop food manufacturing and processing technologies to advance food safety
  • Improve the safety of meat, eggs and poultry, including fresh, frozen, shelf-stable and processed foods, especially fresh and fresh-cut fruits and vegetables
  • Find alternatives to the use of antimicrobial compounds in agriculture
  • Devise mitigation strategies for antimicrobial resistance in agriculture
  • Train the next generation of scientists focused on improving food safety

Key NIFA Food Safety Programs

Other Relevant Food Safety Programs

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