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      Minnesota Wins National Food Safety Grant

      Posted on September 20, 2012 at 8:00 AM

      Child eating carrot

      A new grant awarded from the FDA will ensure that Minnesota continues to lead the nation in food safety.

      Minnesotans will now have new help in fighting contaminated food and food-borne illnesses that, according to the CDC, affect 1 in 6 Americans every year.

      The help comes in the form of $600,000 in grant money which was awarded to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture this week by the FDA.

      The money will be used to create a Minnesota Food Safety Center of Excellence which will work to: gather foodborne-illness surveillance data, provide rapid identification of pathogens, and respond effectively by removing tainted food as quickly as possible.

      The three-year grants will help the Agriculture Department more quickly trace contaminated foods to grocery stores and other distribution points, and will help bolster MDA efforts to ensure that recalled products are quickly and fully withdrawn from the marketplace.

      So what does this mean for the average Minnesotan?

      According to MDA Dairy and Food Division Director Heidi Kassenborg, the benefits are all about speed,  “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.”

      In addition to building a speedier response system locally, the Minnesota Food Safety Center will also help out nationally-- our Center is one of five in United States that will collect and share data improving not only the health of Minnesotans, but the health of the nation.