October 15, 2019

Minnesota Receives Food Safety Grant

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) has received a $600,000 food safety grant from the U.S.. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). MDA will use the three-year grant to speed tracking  of contaminated foods which will get recalled products off of store shelves moe quickly and prevent illness, health officials said.

Woman's Torso Food Poisoning“Every minute we can shave off the time it takes to trace contaminated products and get them off the shelves means fewer people getting sick,” said MDA Dairy and Food Division Director Heidi Kassenborg, in a statement. “These proposals are focused on developing and sharing processes that improve information flow during a foodborne illness investigation, and we believe that will translate into better food safety for people around the country.”

Food poisoning sickens about 48 million Americans, 1 in 6, every year and is fatal for 3,000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Reducing foodborne illness by 10 percent would prevent 5 million Americans from getting sick each year. And preventing a single fatal case of E. coli O157 infection would save an estimated $7 million, according to the CDC.

MDA  plans to  use web-based technologies to improve the flow of information between the food industry and regulatory agencies and share its model with food safety officials across the country. Minnesota is one of the nation’s top agricultural producers and was recently selected as the location for one of five Food Safety Centers of Excellence by the CDC.

The center, which was created through a partnership between the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Department of Health, will provide resources, support and training to public health officials in the Midwest and develop educational programs for consumers and students.

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