September 23, 2005
The U.S. Senate this week allocated $1 million to establish the Food and Drug Administration Western Center for Food Safety and Defense at the University of California, Davis.
The new center will be a cooperative research effort with UC Davis' Western Institute for Food Safety and Security. It will be the first Food and Drug Administration food safety center to address the food safety needs specific to California and the Western United States.
Three other FDA food-safety research centers are located in Maryland, Illinois and Mississippi.
"The new FDA center for food safety will play an important role in identifying potential threats and finding solutions to ensure the security of our food supply," said Sen. Diane Feinstein. "This is the first FDA research presence west of the Mississippi, and I am proud that it will be located in California."
"I want to thank and commend Sen. Feinstein for her leadership and support for the FDA Western Center for Food Safety and Defense," said UC Davis Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef. "By integrating the food safety mission of the FDA with the scientific expertise of UC Davis, the center will benefit California and the rest of the nation that depends on California agriculture for a safe and wholesome food supply."
The $1 million allocation will enable the Food and Drug Administration to establish collaborative research programs among its three existing food safety laboratories and the new center, as well as identify collaborators who will join the UC Davis center.
The new center will focus its immediate research efforts on four areas of emphasis:
* Pre-harvest food safety and security -- examining the environment in which food is grown, whether it be the farm for vegetables or the oceans for seafood. These environments tend to be relatively open, unregulated and vulnerable to contamination.
* Seafood safety -- studying concerns specific to seafood production such as extensive global trade, diminishing populations of fish and shellfish in oceans and freshwater, and the emerging aquaculture industry.
* Point-source contamination within food systems -- conducting research on potential points of contamination in the pre-harvest environment, such as livestock that might shed disease-causing microbes into waterways or chemical spills that might occur at a single point and move through the ecosystem.
* Border security -- developing innovative technologies that will better protect the food system against accidental or intentional contamination of imported foods.
"We are honored that the FDA is tapping into UC Davis' research leadership in the areas of food systems, safety and security in such a way that will help sustain the economic stability of this region and the nation," said Jerry Gillespie, director of the Western Institute for Food Safety and Security. "California and the adjoining Western states, which account for a major portion of the country's food supply, will benefit enormously."
The School of Veterinary Medicine is a founding partner of the Western Institute for Food Safety and Security. The mission of the institute is to conduct research that will enhance food safety in all sectors of the food system continuum from environment to consumer.
Jerry Gillespie, Western Institute for Food Safety and Security, (530) 757-5757, firstname.lastname@example.org
Pat Bailey, UC Davis News Service, (530) 752-9843, email@example.com