An estimated one in six Americans is sickened by foodborne illness annually, resulting in about 3,000 deaths each year. To keep our food safe, FDA wants to develop faster and more sensitive technologies to detect contaminants such as harmful bacteria. To that end, the agency is launching its first Food Safety Challenge, an effort to strengthen our food supply by fostering innovation in technologies that will more quickly detect pathogens in produce.
The 2014 FDA Food Safety Challenge is a call to scientists, academics, entrepreneurs, and innovators from all disciplines to submit concepts applying novel and/or advanced methodologies to foster revolutionary improvements in foodborne pathogen detection. Specifically, concepts should apply cutting-edge techniques to achieve significant improvements in the speed of the FDA’s detection methods for Salmonella with identification to the subtype/serovar level in minimally processed fresh produce. FDA is most interested in concepts that explore the acceleration or elimination of sample preparation and/or enrichment in the testing process, and/or those that employ novel or revolutionary techniques to achieve pathogen detection.
Through this innovation challenge, FDA wants to engage with others outside the agency who are not traditionally working in food safety—be they scientists, academicians, entrepreneurs, innovators, engineers or physicists—to find an ingenious approach to this problem so we can detect the disease-causing bacteria before they reach the consumer.
Got an idea? Check it out. You could make some money, be famous and save lives!