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NIFA’s Food Safety Programs Help Consumers Stay Safe

Posted by Kellie Burdette, Senior Communications Manager, National Institute of Food and Agriculture in Research and Science
Jul 29, 2021
Food quality control expert inspecting specimens of groceries in the laboratory
In FY20, NIFA invested a total of $40 million in food safety grants and programs. Photo by Getty Images

Do you remember the last time you got sick from eating something that “didn’t agree with you?” It’s likely you or someone you know has experienced food poisoning. It’s not fun!

Unfortunately, the health impact of foodborne illnesses in the United States is considerable. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that each year, roughly 1 in 6 Americans (48 million people) gets sick; 128,000 are hospitalized; and 3,000 die of foodborne illnesses.

USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) seeks to reduce the incidence of foodborne illness and provide a safer food supply by supporting research, education, and extension activities addressing current food safety priorities. NIFA supports food safety programs that improve the safety and quality of the U.S. food supply for a healthy population and improved quality of life. Here’s how NIFA is helping to keep American consumers safe:

  • NIFA’s Food Safety Outreach Competitive Grant Program provides funding for food safety training and education for small and mid-sized producers and processors affected by the Food Safety Modernization Act. Community Outreach Projects support the development of new food safety education and outreach programs in local, hard-to-reach communities.
  • Food Safety Research, Education and Extension investments are made through the Agriculture and Food Safety Research Initiative (AFRI). AFRI is the nation’s leading competitive grants program for agricultural sciences. NIFA awards AFRI research, education, and extension grants to improve rural economies, increase food production, stimulate the bioeconomy, mitigate impacts of climate variability, address water availability issues, ensure food safety and security, enhance human nutrition, and train the next generation of the agricultural workforce.
  • NIFA is funding research on Antimicrobial Resistance under the AFRI program. This is especially important because the use and misuse of antimicrobial drugs has been linked to accelerating the emergence of drug-resistant strains of microbes.
  • NIFA enhances networking through the Food Safety Specialist Directory to facilitate communication among food safety professionals. You can use this directory to find contact information by state for food safety and nutrition education partners.

In FY20, NIFA invested a total of $40 million in food safety grants and programs. For more information on NIFA’s food safety programs and partnerships, visit

NIFA will continue focusing on food safety programs by supporting multiple themes outlined in the USDA Science Blueprint (PDF, 2.6 MB), which move us closer to meeting the goals outlined in USDA’s Agriculture Innovation Agenda (PDF, 196 KB).

Category/Topic: Research and Science

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Dr. Stephanie Smith
Nov 30, 2020


I checked your Food Safety Specialist Directory for Washington State and it is horribly out of date. Most of the people on the list have retired or left the University for other positions. I would be happy to send updated information but do not know who to contact to assist with this.


Stephanie Smith, Ph.D.
Washington State University
Statewide Consumer Food safety Specialist

Ben Weaver
Dec 01, 2020

@Dr. Stephanie Smith - thank you for your feedback. Someone from NIFA will be in touch with you soon for updates.