The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) will receive $600,000 in grants from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to enhance the state’s food safety capabilities. The three-year grants will help the Agriculture Department more quickly trace the source of contaminated foods and help to ensure that recalled products are quickly and fully withdrawn from the marketplace.
Minnesota has developed a national reputation for leadership in food safety thanks to a strong collaboration between the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, the Minnesota Department of Health, and the University of Minnesota, along with other federal and local partners.
The grant funding will enable MDA to explore the use of web-based technologies to improve the flow of information between the food industry and regulatory agencies. This approach is expected to accelerate food investigations and recalls, meaning that fewer people will be at risk from contaminated products.
The grant award will also enable MDA to share its project innovations with food safety officials across the country.
“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,” says Dr. Heidi Kassenborg, director of the MDA’s Dairy and Food Inspection Division. “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.”