Grant will increase technology, capabilities of UK Regulatory Services

Food safety is paramount in the United States and that includes animal feed safety. The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture’s Regulatory Services division is committed to protecting Kentucky consumers through monitoring and analyzing feed, fertilizer, milk, seed and soil. Recently, the division was named a recipient of a U.S. Food and Drug Administration grant that will help further that commitment.

“This award will help us further food and feed safety through bovine spongiform encephalopathy prevention programs,” said William Thom, director of UK Division of Regulatory Services and principal investigator in the grant-funded efforts. “We’ll be working on this over the course of three years, and it will help us increase our capacity and technology for analyzing feeds intended for ruminant animals.”

The grant will total $493,120 and will increase the division’s capacity to determine potentially toxic levels of non-nutritive metals in minerals and other feeds. In addition, the division will develop the capability to analyze five mycotoxins in grains and feeds through replacing the limited ELISA-method technology with high pressure liquid chromatograph equipment.  “The first year, we’ll use the funds to focus on acquiring equipment and increasing the technical capability of our analysts through an emphasis on training,” Thom said. “Training will continue all three years, and we expect this added knowledge and technology to make an impact for many years to come.”

Thom’s co-investigator is Sharon Webb, coordinator, instrumental analyst for the division.

The cooperative agreements for the Ruminant Feed Ban/Feed Safety Support Program, supported by the FDA’s Office of Regulatory Affairs, Division of Federal-State Relations in coordination with the Center for Veterinary Medicine, further enhance the infrastructure of state, territorial and tribal animal feed safety and bovine spongiform encephalopathy prevention programs. Under these cooperative agreements, state, territory and tribal governments will enhance their feed safety/bovine spongiform encephalopathy programs to increase the ability to locate and visit companies involved in the manufacture, distribution and transportation of animal feed, as well as operations feeding ruminant animals, and verify their compliance with the ruminant feed ban and other feed safety regulations. Funds may also be used for laboratory analysis to conduct educational outreach activities and develop materials needed to further enhance the industries' knowledge of and compliance with the ruminant feed ban and other feed safety regulations. 

Kentucky was one of 11 states selected to receive the Ruminant Feed Ban/Feed Safety Support Program Grant.

“We are excited to award this grant in an effort to provide greater food and feed safety and defense capabilities to better serve the citizens of the state,” said Joseph Reardon, director of the FDA’s Division of Federal-State Relations. 

The FDA awards grants to state and local regulatory agencies to boost food and feed safety initiatives among federal, state and local partners. The grants fund major cooperative agreements in four major areas: response, intervention, innovation and prevention.

For more information on food safety, http://www.fda.gov.

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