Today, eleven U.S. institutions have joined the Supporters of Agricultural Research (SoAR) Foundation in an effort to gain more federal support of food and agriculture science. Along with this announcement comes a new report--Retaking the Field—Empowering Agricultural Sciences for Health--that explores the success of research projects funded by the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), the flagship competitive grants program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

“Scientists have made tremendous strides in keeping our food safe and nutritious,” says Thomas Grumbly, SoAR’s president. “But the federal investment in food science has remained flat as the number of threats to our food system continues to climb. The 2018 Farm Bill will set agricultural funding priorities for the next five years. We all need research to be at the top of this agenda.”

The new report, in part, looks at how foodborne illness costs Americans $15.6 billion annually according to USDA estimates. The other crises that the report delves into are nutrition-related diseases and zoonotic diseases in both animals and humans. Both crises have immense economic impact for the U.S. and the world

The report includes the following research centered around food safety conducted at various institutions:

  • Iowa State University - Banishing Bad Bacteria: Controlling E. Coli To Protect Poultry and People
  • Colorado State University- Sequencing Solutions: Revolutionizing Understanding of Antimicrobial Resistance with Genome Analysis
  • Cornell University - Thinking Tiny: Blocking Pathogenic Bacteria With Nanoengineered Surfaces
  • University of California, Davis - Safeguarding Salad: Reducing Cross-Contamination in Fresh Produce Processing
  • Michigan State University - Targeting Troublemakers: Enhancing Dry Food Safety with Pasteurization Technologies

You can read more about these SoAR research studies and others by visiting

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