WASHINGTON — The US Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is bringing together a group of scientists with different specialties in an initiative known as the Salmonella Grand Challenge. The scientists will integrate their research to learn more about how and where Salmonella causes high risk to meat and poultry products so that salmonellosis can be prevented.

The Salmonella Grand Challenge works to contribute to the Healthy People goal of cutting the number of people infected by Salmonella 25% by 2030.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 20,000 people are hospitalized and 400 die each year from salmonellosis. ARS estimated that 23% of salmonellosis cases are from poultry products.

“We are optimistic that this team will be successful in developing better tools and information that the meat and poultry industries can use to reduce the risk of salmonellosis from their products,” said Tommy Wheeler, research leader at the ARS US Meat Animal Research Center. “We think the broad expertise and new perspectives will facilitate novel thinking and better solutions.”

The team includes 18 ARS scientists from eight different fields of expertise and six national program areas. The Salmonella Grand Challenge is partnering with five USDA agencies and 22 stakeholders that cross all commodities and scales of operations.

The team will use machine learning-based modeling to integrate their 12 different research projects with industry feedback. Using harmonized datasets, ARS believes the team will be better equipped to identify larger trends, emerging threats and form mitigation strategies.