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Texas A&M Professor Leads Team Awarded $1 Million Food Safety Grant from USDA

Posted February 12, 2016

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The USDA recently announced 35 Food Safety Grants, one of which was awarded to a team led by Dr. H. Morgan Scott, professor in the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology at Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM), based on their research on antimicrobial resistance. The grant funding awarded to the team totaled $1 million.

The Food Safety Grants are administered by the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and are designed to enable research that promotes safe and nutritious food as well as agricultural competitiveness.

Antimicrobials, including antibiotics, have been used for decades to successfully treat both humans and animals. However, strains of bacteria have evolved resistance to antibiotics, leading to growing concern about aspects of food safety related to animal agriculture. Through this research, Scott and his team hope to address these concerns.

Scott will lead a team of researchers and extension faculty: Mayukh Dass and Guy H. Loneragan of Texas Tech University, Yrjö T. Gröhn of Cornell University, Ellen R. Jordan and Jason Sawyer of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, Alex W. McIntosh of Texas A&M University, and Gerald R. Midgley of the University of Hull in the United Kingdom. The team will focus on designing and implementing science-based and stakeholder-informed stewardship programs for beef and dairy cattle systems.

The overall goal of the project is to identify, evaluate, and implement practical and effective strategies for mitigating and preventing antimicrobial resistance. To do this, Scott and his team seek to recruit and engage stakeholders in designing and implementing voluntary antimicrobial stewardship programs. Additionally, the researchers will conduct field studies and develop models to better understand various aspects of this complex issue, including economics, microbiology, and the social sciences.

The research team aims to enhance environmental quality and food safety by reducing the burden of antibiotic resistance among enteric bacteria. Scott’s research will lay the foundation by which decisions can be made by stakeholders to prevent and combat antimicrobial resistance. This includes qualitative and quantitative modeling to test tools that support stakeholder’s decisions, both in the short and long term.

This project differs from previous attempts to mitigate antimicrobial resistance in animal agriculture because it focuses on voluntary stewardship programs rather than relying strictly on legislation or regulation.

“Dr. Scott’s research on antimicrobial resistance is truly exceptional,” said Dr. Eleanor M. Green the Carl B. King dean of veterinary medicine. “Receiving this grant is a testament to Dr. Scott’s commitment to excellence in research, and we are proud of him and the team he is leading.”

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Contact Information: Megan Palsa, mpalsa@cvm.tamu.edu, 979-862-4216, 979-421-3121 (cell)



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