FSIS suggests food safety research ideas for scientists

Meatingplace, By Susan Kelly on 12/28/2017

The Food Safety and Inspection Service has published a list of its top research priorities for researchers interested in pursuing food safety objectives that are relevant to FSIS regulated products.

The list, to be updated biannually, represents FSIS’ current assessment of priority research that will help further its public health mission.

The areas of interest may be useful to researchers who are preparing grants for submission to agencies that fund food safety research, such as USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (http://www.nifa.usda.gov), National Institutes of Health (http://www.nih.gov) and Grants.gov (http://www.grants.gov), FSIS said.

The list supports the three goals of the FSIS 2017-2021 Strategic Plan: 1) prevent foodborne illness and protect public health; 2) modernize inspection systems, policies, and the use of scientific approaches; and 3) achieve operational excellence.

FSIS said its research priorities are:

– Investigate and/or develop emerging screening technologies to reduce time for detection.
– Investigate and/or develop emerging screening technologies for enhanced subtype/virulence characterization of pathogens.
– Investigate and/or develop emerging screening technologies to provide multi-analyte detection from a single analytical sample portion.
– Investigate and/or develop emerging screening technologies which are applicable to FSIS regulated products (meat, poultry, egg products and foods containing these products).
– Develop rapid methods for screening of “high-risk” compounds such as environmental contaminants.
– Develop or refine testing methods for quantifying target pathogens in meat, poultry and egg products.
– Identify and evaluate alternative approaches to N60 sampling.
– Develop Physiologically Based Pharmacokinetic (PBPK) models to estimate chemical concentrations in beef, pork and chicken tissues.
– Identify and/or develop emerging technologies for real-time testing for higher levels of contamination prior to slaughter.
– Develop non-targeted methods to detect chemical contaminants in FSIS regulated products.
– Further develop the use of indicator/surrogate organisms in processing establishments to validate and monitor intervention effectiveness.
– Evaluate the potential effectiveness of pre-harvest interventions on finished products.
– Develop a screen for the detection of hormone and hormone-like compounds.
– Determine retail use statistics/practices which could contribute chemicals (insecticide, rodenticide, fungicide, antimicrobial) or pathogens to FSIS regulated products.
– Determine the magnitude and significance of migration of chemicals (e.g., endocrine disruptors) from packaging into FSIS regulated products.
– Determine the effectiveness of serial and/or simultaneous application of more than one pre-harvest and/or post-harvest intervention as a control strategy.
– Conduct ex post evaluation of regulatory initiatives.
– Determine the presence and contributing factors for antimicrobial resistant strains in poultry and cattle.
– Develop or refine cooking and cooling models.-Develop or refine dose-response curves for pathogens (including specific subtypes) of interest.
– Determine (validate) the effectiveness (log-reduction) of interventions used by industry to reduce levels of pathogens on FSIS regulated products.
– Identify consumer practices which compromise the safety of FSIS regulated products and/or generate data to develop public education and outreach to improve food-handling practices.
– Identify and/or develop pre- and post-harvest interventions to reduce levels of pathogens and chemical hazards for each class of veal (bob veal, non-formula-fed, formula-fed, and heavy calves).
– Identify unique attributes of pathogen outbreak strains that may increase the probability of foodborne illness.
– Determine the contribution of endogenous extra-intestinal sources of pathogens to contamination of FSIS-regulated products.
– Identify or develop approaches to facilitate humane handling of FSIS regulated livestock species.