$41M FDA Cooperative Agreement to Support the Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (JIFSAN)

(Original article at UMD AGNR website.)

by Erica Mudd and Mary Grimley

The Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (JIFSAN) announced a new five-year, $41 million cooperative agreement with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Established in 1996, JIFSAN is a joint institute with FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition and the University of Maryland and its chief aim is to be a premier source of scientific information that enables the development of sound public health policy and reduces the incidence of food-related illness.

As an FDA Center of Excellence, JIFSAN promotes research, education and outreach in food safety, security and applied nutrition to ensure that regulatory decisions have a sound scientific footing and that the best methods and tools are available to advance food safety. JIFSAN has developed innovative capacity-building partnerships with various sectors of stakeholders in support of the Food Safety Modernization Act, which focuses on preventing food safety problems before they occur and recognizes the importance of strong foodborne illness and outbreak surveillance systems.

“This enduring partnership and funding will allow us to continue our collaborative research efforts between UMD and the FDA,” said Dr. Jianghong Meng, University of Maryland Nutrition and Food Science Professor and Director of JIFSAN. “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.”

JIFSAN will also continue to provide graduate and undergraduate internship opportunities to UMD students who work collaboratively with and are mentored by FDA scientists; conduct multi-institutional, multi-disciplinary research projects; develop mechanisms for the exchange of technical information and scientific concepts; and progress development of innovative education and outreach programs that enhance FDA’s efforts in participating with other nations to improve U.S. and worldwide health.

The renewal of funding also comes at a salient and opportune time as JIFSAN prepares to move its offices and facilities to a new location in Greater College Park’s Discovery District, a dynamic research park home to other university stakeholders and government researchers. As of November 2022, JIFSAN will be located at 5825 University Research Court in Suite 1400 and will afford space for its research faculty, graduate students, staff, and a microbiology laboratory.

“We’re excited to continue the important research of food safety,” Meng said. “The renewal of this award is a timely confirmation and speaks to the significance of the work our University of Maryland faculty, staff, and students do in partnership with the U.S. FDA to improve and better the lives of the public.