NCDA&CS gets federal grants to protect food, animal feed
North Carolina's efforts to ensure the safety of food, animal feed and pet food are getting a financial boost from three federal grants.
The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services received a $211,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service to expand testing for harmful foodborne bacteria such as E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes. The grant is renewable for up to four additional years if funds are available.
"Our Food and Drug Protection Division conducts numerous inspections and performs a variety of food tests with support from the federal government," said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. "These funds will allow us to increase our capacity for food testing."
The department also received a five-year,$1.25 million grant from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to support efforts to prevent bovine spongiform encephalopathy in North Carolina livestock. BSE, also known as mad cow disease, is a degenerative brain illness affecting cattle and other ruminant animals.
"The grant will help our Food and Drug Protection Division increase its ability to inspect companies involved in the manufacture and distribution of animal feed, as well as operations that feed ruminant animals," Troxler said.
"These funds also will support our laboratory test-ing program and activities aimed at educating ind-ustry and the public about the ruminant feed ban and other feed safety regulations."
A third grant, worth $50,000, is from FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine to support testing of pet food for pathogens. North Carolina is one of five states participating in this program.