Kansas State University has been selected to establish the Center of Excellence for Food Safety Research in Child Nutrition Programs by the USDA. The Center will provide science-based support to improve the safety of foods provided through the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) nutrition assistance programs, particularly those served in schools and child care settings."Nothing is more important than the health and well-being of our nation's children and we must do everything we can to ensure that kids are being served safe, high quality meals," says USDA Secretary Thomas Vilsack. "The Center of Excellence will provide research on important topics such as produce safety and evaluation of school food safety programs."
The Center of Excellence will provide a new and holistic research approach to determine how new initiatives, such as farm-to-school purchasing and school gardens, and emerging science affect food safety in FNS school and child care programs, USDA says. A multidisciplinary approach, including both basic and applied research, will draw expertise from fields such as foodservice management, food safety, food microbiology, agricultural production, education, and the social sciences. The center will be funded with a two-year, $1.6 million grant and will open as soon as the grant is awarded.