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AMI Calls for More Funding for Agricultural Research

by 5m Editor
10 January 2011, at 8:17am

US - An American Meat Institute (AMI) director has urged the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology to increase funding for agricultural research.

Increased funding for agricultural research is essential to sustain the progress that has been made in enhancing food safety, according to AMI Foundation Director of Scientific Affairs, Betsy Booren, Ph.D., in oral comments given today at a meeting of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST).

Dr Booren said: "Without additional funding for agricultural research, we will be unable to build on our progress and make our food supply even safer."

In her comments, Dr Booren highlighted the fact that data suggest that the meat and poultry industry's research and education efforts have contributed to the food safety progress reflected in government data. Pathogenic bacteria on fresh and ready-to-eat products are down dramatically and so, too, are foodborne illnesses caused by pathogens associated with some meat and poultry products.

"We have demonstrated that this approach to research is a wise investment and believe it is a formula to create real change and real progress," Dr Booren told the Council.

Since 1999, the AMI Foundation research programme has directly sponsored more than 85 food safety research projects at leading universities and research labs. It has seen firsthand, however, the funding for agriculture research drastically decline over the last two decades with departments removing critical agriculture disciplines.

Dr Booren commented: "This is disappointing as the need for agricultural research has never been greater. It is absolutely critical to have science-based research that will help meet the challenges that lay ahead in the future for the health of Americans."

PCAST, administered by the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), is an advisory group of the country’s leading scientists and engineers who directly advise the President and the Executive Office of the President on science and technology issues.

To read Dr Booren’s public comments in their entirety, click here.