The center will be funded with a two-year, $1.6 million grant and will open as soon as the grant is awarded. It will provide a new and holistic research approach to determine how new initiatives, such as farm-to-school purchasing and school gardens, and emerging science affect food safety in FNS school and child care programs, according to USDA. A multidisciplinary approach, including both basic and applied research, will draw expertise from foodservice management, food safety, food microbiology, agricultural production, education, and the social sciences.
Many of the individuals served in FNS nutrition assistance programs are children, who are vulnerable to foodborne illness. As a result, USDA has put a number of initiatives in place to promote food safety for children.
More than 101,000 public and non-profit private schools and residential child care institutions participate in the National School Lunch Program, serving more than 31 million children daily. Approximately 3.2 million children and 112,000 adults are served daily through the Child and Adult Care Food Program.