BSE Research Program Expands

March 21, 2005 — U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns announced Friday, March 18, that almost $2 million in funding has been redirected to enhance research on bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). The funds are in addition to another $5 million being awarded to 17 colleges and universities to establish a Food Safety Research and Response Network, which will be spearheaded by North Carolina State University and include more than 50 food safety experts investigating several of the most prevalent food-related illness pathogens.

The expanded research efforts will improve the understanding of BSE as well as food safety by enhancing research partnerships, Johanns announced during the National Restaurant Association’s Food Safety Summit.

According to a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) release, the funds will be redirected by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) toward new BSE projects and facilities, building upon President Bush’s proposed fiscal year (FY) 2006 budget that increases BSE research by 155% compared to 2005 allocations. As part of the newly funded projects, researchers will collaborate with the Veterinary Laboratory Agency in Great Britain to further study the disease. U.S. researchers will also work with scientists in Italy and Spain to evaluate diagnostic tools and compare North American and European BSE strains.

Almost $750,000 will go toward a biocontainment facility at the ARS National Animal Disease Center in Ames, Iowa, the release stated.

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