FDA issues Food Safety Challenge

The Food and Drug Administration seeks for innovative methods of catching harmful food-bourne organisms

The Food and Drug Administration recently issued the Food Safety Challenge in order to discover groundbreaking methods for detecting disease-causing agents in food.

Developed under the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010, the 2014 FDA Food Safety Challenge calls for ideas on detection of Salmonella in fresh produce. Though the challenge asks for a focus on Salmonella, concepts addressing other pathogens can also be entered.

"We are thrilled to announce the FDA's first incentive prize competition under the America COMPETES Act," Michael Taylor, the FDA deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine, said. "This is an exciting opportunity for the federal government to collaborate with outside experts to bring forth breakthrough ideas and technologies that can help ensure quicker detection of problems in our food supply and help prevent food borne illnesses."

The Centers for Disease Control classifies Salmonella as a bioterrorism agent. The food borne organism causes 19,000 hospitalizations and approximately 400 deaths annually, more than any other food borne pathogen.

The deadline for participation is Nov. 9, after which the FDA will select up to five finalists. Each finalist will receive a $20,000 prize and receive coaching from the FDA before facing the judges of the challenge.

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