USDA awards $10.4 million in food safety grants

By the Associated Press | December 7, 2011 | 5:35 PM EST

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded 17 grants totaling $10.4 million for university research projects designed to boost food safety.

Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan said the funds are being divided among universities in 13 states.

She made the announcement during a visit to Michigan State University, a recipient of three grants. One of the studies there will look for better ways to prevent harmful pathogens from contaminating packages of ready-to-eat, fresh-cut produce.

The grants were made through the National Integrated Food Safety Initiative, which deals with food safety issues from the farm up to preparation.