USDA Secretary Ann Veneman announced a new food-safety research agenda in December, which she says will improve food-safety programs’ efficiency and effectiveness. This is one of several steps that USDA is planning to implement. The agency also released a list of meat and poultry research needs that the Food Safety and Inspection Service will encourage non-governmental entities to address.

The unified agenda, lists the following research priorities:

·         Investigate the ecology, epidemiology, virulence and genetic characteristics related to pathogenicity for E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella, Listeria and other foodborne pathogens to identify control measures.

·         Develop on-farm, feedlot, transportation, handling and other pre-processing intervention strategies to  reduce the incidence and levels of antibiotic-resistant microorganisms and key foodborne pathogens in poultry, meat, eggs and fresh produce.

·         Develop, validate and transfer technology of new and improved processing methods to reduce or eliminate key foodborne pathogens in poultry, meat, fresh produce, seafood and ready-to-eat foods.

·         Develop rapid and sensitive detection methods for abnormal prions to prevent possible spread of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies..