NIFA research supports safer foods from field to table

Monday, December 20, 2021

As we prepare for the next holiday gatherings, we are also preparing holiday meals. During this time surrounded by family and friends, it is important to be mindful of food security.

USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) supports research to educate consumers and find innovative solutions to keep our food supply safe as it moves from field to table .

Do not wash your poultry
If chicken or turkey will be on your holiday menu, North Carolina State University has some tips for preparing this dish. Research has shown that washing poultry before cooking increases the risk of foodborne illness. The bird’s bacteria can travel up to three feet from where it is washed. The safest way to kill bacteria is to put raw poultry directly into the baking dish. Below are some suggested tips for preparing poultry.

  • Do not wash raw poultry.
  • Clean and sanitize utensils and work surfaces after preparing raw poultry.
  • Wash and dry hands after handling and preparing poultry and after washing dishes.
  • When drying your hands, use clean or disposable towels.

Smart surface coatings protect fruits and vegetables
Texas A&M University
Leverages a grant from NIFA to support its “Next Generation Smart Surfaces and Coatings to Improve Food Safety and Water Efficiency in Specialty Crops in the United States.” The university team “tackles food safety issues by developing new spray or immersion solutions and coatings to improve the microbiological safety and hygiene of farm implements and accessories used for harvesting.” Learn more about this project here.

Multistate Hatch Grant funds new methods of food security
Foodborne illness affects 48 million Americans each year. Thirty-two concessionary universities collaborate on food safety methods that kill pathogens and extend shelf life without damaging the color, texture and flavor of foods. Consult university research here.

Alabama Extension Creates Food Safety Training Program
the Alabama Cooperative Extension System is creating a food security training program to help minority farmers solve the food security and processing challenges they face as they scale up their operations. Learn more about the training program here.

Check out some other food security projects funded by NIFA below.

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