The research projects are organized into two category types, Food Safety Categories and Farm-to-Table Categories. There are currently sixteen Food Safety Categories and five Farm-to-Table Categories. These categories were developed to represent the research in the Database from a broader perspective and improve search capabilities. The scope of each category is described below.
Categories used in the Database
These categories represent broader topic areas identified in the research. Each project in the Database is assigned one or more Food Safety Category(s) as appropriate.
Food and Food Products
Included is research on a variety of plant and animal food products, such as: functional foods, potentially hazardous foods, perishable foods, reconstituted foods, ready-to-eat foods, baked goods, genetically modified foods, and fried foods.
Food and Feed Composition and Characteristics
Included is research on the chemical components of foods and feeds such as: nutrients, naturally occurring toxins, phytochemicals, antinutritional factors, and additives.
Food Quality Characteristics
Included is research on the quality of foods that influence their safety, palatability and acceptability, such as: appearance, texture, flavor, aroma, shelf-life stability, food suitability, and microbiological quality.
Food and Feed Handling and Processing
Included is research on the various aspects of processing, packaging, preservation, storage, and post-harvest treatments in foods and feeds.
On-Farm Food Safety
Included is research on the food safety issues concerned with the health of food animals and food crops before slaughter or harvest such as: good agricultural practices, pre-harvest treatment, and animal health. Encompasses sanitation and pathogen control strategies on the farm.
Diseases and Allergies
Included is research on zoonotic diseases, foodborne illnesses, food intolerances, and food allergies such as viral infections (AI), prion diseases (BSE), bacterial infections (salmonellosis), fungal diseases (mycotoxicoses), and food allergens (peanuts). Also includes research on immune response related to food pathogens and allergens.
Sanitation and Pathogen Control
Included is research in the area of disease and quality control post-harvest. Some of the terms included in this category include: HACCP, microbial detection, control methods, good manufacturing practices, and sanitation processes.
Contaminants and Contamination
Included is research on various sources of contamination, categories of contaminants and types of contamination such as chemical contaminants and residues, microbial contamination, packaging materials migration, and cross contamination.
Government Policy and Regulations
Included is research on food laws and regulations, food policy, consumer protection and public health issues, such as: grading, labeling, post-mortem inspections, Codex Alimentarius, Food and Drug Administration Food Code, product quality standards, and hygiene legislation.
Included is research on methods used to detect and identify pathogens, analyze foods, and monitor safety and quality, such as: analytical techniques, microbial detection, screening tests, monitoring, genetic techniques and protocols, control methods, and rapid methods.
Included is research on the factors influencing the occurrence and distribution of diseases in populations, such as: public health research, emerging diseases, disease risk factors, disease prevalence, disease incidence, disease control, disease transmission, environmental exposure, toxicity testing, molecular epidemiology, animal and human health, and disease vectors.
Education and Training
Included is research on food safety-related education and training activities, risk communication, consumer information, health education, and food service training.
Included is research on biological mechanisms, host-pathogen interactions, and other factors that influence pathogen survival and virulence mechanisms of food pathogens, such as: microbial genetics, microbial ecology, predictive microbiology, and biological resistance.
Plant Science and Plant Products
Included is research on food crops, plant breeding technologies and crop safety assessments, such as: transgenic plants, safety evaluation technologies, genetic techniques and protocols, protein identification technologies, and plant genetics.
Included is research on the process of analyzing and identifying potential hazards and adverse effects by qualitative or quantitative means, as well as, the development of risk management and risk communication strategies, such as: risk mitigation strategies, exposure assessment, risk models, level of acceptable risk, zero-risk standards, risk management plans, and consumer risk perceptions.
Food Defense and Security
Included is research to protect food and the food supply from intentional and unintentional contamination to ensure access to safe and sufficient quantities of food, such as: food protection plans; biosecurity protocols; emergency preparedness and response; traceability of disease outbreaks; biosecurity of food (crops and livestock); protection against plant and animal diseases that threaten the food supply (new disease threats, endemic or introduced strains); and the new methods and technologies that protect against disease agents of concern (sensor technologies, nanotechnology, diagnostic techniques, forensic analysis). Some diseases of concern include Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), African swine fever, Highly pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) Exotic Newcastle Disease (END), Anthrax, Brucellosis, Fusarium Head Blight (FHB or Scab disease), Wheat rust, Rye blast, Rice blast, Late blight of potato, Brown spot disease, and Soybean Rust (SBR).
These categories represent different stages of the farm-to-table continuum. Projects may be assigned one or more Farm-to-Table Category(s) as appropriate and, if applicable.
On-Farm Food Production
Food safety on the farm which includes both food animal production and food crop production. Includes research on: good agricultural practices; animal and plant health; animal manure management; best agricultural management practices; transmission of foodborne pathogens; control methods to prevent chemical (i.e., pesticide residues, veterinary drug residues, heavy metals) and microbial contamination; and more.
Food safety at the processing facilities which includes handling, processing, packaging, and storage of foods and food products. Includes research on: thermal and non-thermal processing technologies; active packaging; shelf life of processed foods; cold storage systems; handling and processing conditions affecting postharvest; methods to improve microbiological safety and quality; and more.
Food safety during transportation which includes transport of food animals, produce, and other raw food ingredients to processing plants, as well as post-processing distribution and delivery of food products. Includes research on: factors affecting pathogen shedding; influence of transportation stress on livestock pathogens; risk assessment and predictive modeling to describe microbial contamination; methods to control foodborne pathogens; and more.
Retail and Food Service
Food safety in retail and food service settings which include grocery stores, restaurants, and institutions. Includes research on: potential factors that cross-contaminate ready-to-eat foods in the retail environment; methods to control cross-contamination; identification of foodborne illness risk factors; evaluation of cost-effective education and training methods for food service employees; and more.
Food safety in the home which includes food handling, preparation, processing, preservation and storage practices at the consumer level as well as consumer education. Includes research on: consumer exposure to foodborne pathogens; educational interventions to promote safe food handling and preparation; home food preservation; consumer knowledge, attitude and behavior regarding food safety practices; risk communication; disaster preparedness and recovery; and more.