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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.

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, but many of these illnesses can be prevented. Ongoing food safety improvements, in addition to reducing foodborne illnesses, can yield economic and social benefits:

  • Reduced loss of income and health care costs for the affected individual
  • Improved productivity
  • Reduced burden on the country’s healthcare system through improved public health
  • A safer food supply, from farm to table
  • 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 while improving the safety of the food supply. NIFA supports efforts to:

  • Reduce food hazards such as disease-causing micro-organisms, toxins, and chemical contaminants
  • Improve food processing technologies that advance food safety
  • Improve the safety of fresh and fresh-cut fruits and vegetables
  • Find alternatives to the use of antibiotics in animals
  • Devise mitigation strategies for antimicrobial resistance
  • Train the next generation of scientists focused on improving food safety

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