USDA updates food safety research priorities

December 7, 2012

The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA FSIS) has updated its research priorities to keep pace with ever-changing issues and opportunities in food safety and public health related to the meat, poultry, and egg products FSIS regulates. Scientific research and resources from outside the agency complement internal efforts to ensure that food safety inspection aligns with existing and emerging risks across the farm-to-table continuum.

“Our goal is to effectively use science to understand foodborne illness and emerging trends,” said USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety Elisabeth Hagen. “External research is critical to our public health mission and ultimately serves as another tool at our disposal to protect the food supply for over 300 million Americans.”

The agency’s priorities are presented as suggestions for researchers interested in pursuing food safety objectives that are relevant to FSIS regulated products. FSIS convenes an internal Research Priorities Panel to review the priorities and to identify potential additions to the priorities list. The panel includes representatives from all FSIS disciplines. The panel meets every six months, solicits updates from program areas and stakeholders, and then votes on updates to the priorities list. The recommended updates are vetted through the FSIS Data Coordinating Committee and the Agency’s Management Council.

FSIS identified official Agency research priorities for the first time in its history in December 2011. The effort was an outgrowth of the agency’s internal discussions and feedback from stakeholders and research organizations.

FSIS research priorities

Press release