U.S – The Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition(JIFSAN) at the University of Maryland is expected to expand thanks to a collaboration arrangement with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that will cost U.S$41 million over five years.

JIFSAN, an FDA Center of Excellence founded in 1996, brings together UMD researchers and federal agency knowledge.

It supports the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) by fostering research, teaching, and outreach in these fields, as well as relationships with businesses, government, and other stakeholders.

“This enduring partnership and funding will allow us to continue our collaborative research efforts between UMD and the FDA.

“We are in a new era of food safety where better protections and preventative measures are more important than ever. The last few years have shown that as a community we must all work together to eradicate illness and disease,” said Jianghong Meng, Professor of Nutrition and Food Science and JIFSAN Director.

A statutory mandate on imported aquacultured shrimp, which aids the FDA in regulating the sourcing and importation of shrimp into the United States, will be one of the initiatives that will develop as a result of the new award.

JIFSAN will keep giving UMD students who work with and are mentored by FDA scientists options for graduate and undergraduate internships.

More than 300 student internships, graduate assistantships, and postdoctoral research jobs have been offered by the institute in its first 25 years, helping a variety of food safety projects and programs.

The institute will also establish systems for the interchange of technical knowledge and scientific ideas. It will also carry out multi-institutional, multidisciplinary research initiatives.

Additionally, it will continue to encourage the creation of educational and outreach initiatives intended to strengthen the FDA’s collaboration with other countries to advance both domestic and international health.

The money will also aid JIFSAN as it gets ready to relocate its operations to 5825 University Research Court in the Discovery District of UMD.

In addition to other cutting-edge technology for identifying and tracing the source of foodborne diseases, the new facility features a microbiology laboratory for training and research in whole genome sequencing.

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