The U-S Department of Agriculture today (Monday) awarded a grant to the University of Nebraska – Lincoln and participating institutions that will be used to study
E. coli in the production of beef. Chavonda Jacobs-Young with USDA made the trip to Lincoln to present the $25-million grant. Jacobs-Young stated the project includes studying the entire beef chain from birth to consumption and to study how these pathogens travel though the production process. There will be several steps that include:
– study the biological and epidemiological factors that drive STEC-caused illnesses;
– develop intervention techniques to reduce STEC risks from cattle, hides, carcasses and beef and devise ways to implement these interventions for all sizes of beef producers;
– develop a risk analysis model to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of mitigation strategies; and
– communicate findings to stakeholders, food safety professionals, regulators, educators and consumers so they can implement efforts to lower STEC exposure.
Researchers at UNL and Kansas State will be conducting most of the research but there are several other institutions participating. They include North Carolina State, University of California – Davis, University of Delaware, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, New Mexico Consortium, USDA-Agricultural Research Service, New Mexico State University, Texas A&M University and the University of Arkansas.
This is the largest USDA grant to UNL and one of the single largest every received.