Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI): Food Safety Challenge Area
Letter of Intent Deadline:
Sep. 17, 2012
Dec. 05, 2012
The Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI): Food Safety Challenge Area funds research that will develop outcomes for decisions and policies to contribute to a safe food supply and the reduction of foodborne hazards. The combined FY 2012/2013 RFA priority areas include effective mitigation strategies for antimicrobial resistance, and improving the safety of fresh and fresh-cut fruits and vegetables in addition to critical and emerging food safety research needs to prevent and control threats to the safety of the U.S. food supply. The Food Safety Challenge Area seeks proposals in the following areas.
- Addressing Critical and Emerging Food Safety Issues:
- Research generated in this priority area will reduce the burden of foodborne pathogens and contaminants by supporting critical and emerging food safety research needs. This includes both fundamental and applied research, with a particular focus on mitigation strategies. Applicants must provide a strong rationale to justify that the proposal addresses a critical and emerging food safety issue. Applications are encouraged to include one or more of the following topic areas:
- Identify and characterize emerging pathogens and/or contaminants, and, if determined to be a food safety threat, identify or develop effective control strategies.
- Develop control strategies for known pathogens and contaminants on previously unrecognized food vehicles or on foods that are not commonly associated with a particular pathogen.
- Effective Mitigation Strategies for Antimicrobial Resistance:
- The ultimate goal of the research is to enable the development of mitigation strategies for the containment of antimicrobial resistance. Applications are encouraged to include one or more of the following topic areas:
- Identification of critical control points for mitigating antimicrobial resistance in animal production systems based on ecological understanding and measures, risk assessment outcomes, and development and implementation of agriculture, aquaculture and/or industrial practices to mitigate the emergence, spread and persistence of antimicrobial resistance in the pre- and/or post-harvest food environment, products and/or host and environmental ecosystems.
- Develop, implement, and evaluate effective mitigation strategies through integrated research, education and extension/outreach programs engaging academe, government agencies, industry, and consumers.
- Design effective training, education, and outreach materials and resources (including web-based resources) that can be easily modified for various users across the food chain.
- Design and implement studies to measure the impact or effect of potential interventions on existing antimicrobial resistance at the macro or micro levels.
- Proposals in this area should address the education, outreach, and training for growers, producers, consumers and others regarding the safety of fresh produce. Good agricultural practices (GAPS), on-farm HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points programs), and other quality assurance programs. Applications are encouraged to include one or more of the following topic areas:
- Gain a better understanding of the ecology of foodborne pathogens (including L. monocytogenes) in production, processing and/or retail environments, and devise appropriate control strategies to reduce/eliminate pathogen contamination of produce.
- Determine the most effective and practical methodologies through assessment of existing food safety training and education materials to motivate behavioral change of food practitioners and handlers and to promote adoption of safe handling practices associated with fresh and fresh-cut produce.
- Develop novel and effective non-thermal food processing technologies that will achieve 4 to 6 log reductions in pathogenic microorganisms in and/or on fresh and fresh-cut produce.