The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Wednesday it has awarded 17 grants totaling $10.4 million for university research projects designed to boost food safety at a time when millions of Americans get food-borne illnesses each year.
The funds are being divided among universities in 13 states. Oklahoma State University will receive $543,000.
Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan made the announcement during a visit to Michigan State University, which received three grants totaling $2.8 million.
"Primarily, we expect that the research and education spurred by these grants will find solutions to some pressing food safety issues," Merrigan said.
"Additionally, we want to help American consumers, restaurant employees and teachers put new food safety principles into practice."
The grants were made through the National Integrated Food Safety Initiative, which deals with food safety issues across the spectrum, beginning with production on the farm and including processing, distribution, and selection and preparation.
The institute's programs combine university research with education of consumers, food service workers and others.