S.-I. Tu


The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is the in-house research institute of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). One of the key missions of ARS is to provide, through scientific research, the means to ensure that the food supply is safe and secure for consumers and that food and feed meet foreign and domestic regulatory requirements. Food safety research seeks ways to assess, control or eliminate potentially harmful food contaminants, including both introduced and naturally occurring pathogenic bacteria, viruses and parasites, toxins and non-biological-based chemical contaminants, mycotoxins and plant toxins. Food safety is a global issue; thus, the research program involves both national and international collaborations through formal and informal partnerships. To meet those responsibilities, ARS has engaged more than 180 Ph.D. research scientists in 25 laboratories to work on 62 research projects. Using the involvement in post-harvest food safety research of an Eastern Regional Research Center laboratory in the North Atlantic Area of ARS as an example, I will describe the processes and procedures for project development, research accountability, and technology transfer to stakeholders. In addition, specific examples on significant research accomplishments in pathogen detection involving collaboration with domestic and international entities will also be described.