Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns has announced almost $2 million in funding has been redirected to enhance research on bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and that $5 million has been awarded to 17 colleges and universities to establish a Food Safety Research and Response Network.

“In a rapidly changing world marketplace, science is the universal language that must guide our rules and policies, rather than subjectivity or politics,” said Johanns.

“Expanding our research efforts to improve the understanding of BSE and other food-related illness pathogens will strengthen the security of our nation's food supply. These projects will help improve food safety by enhancing our research partnerships with the academic community and establish another tool to aid our response to food-related disease outbreaks,” he explained.

Johanns made the announcement during keynote remarks at the recent National Restaurant Association's Food Safety Summit.

The 17 colleges and universities in the Food Safety Research and Response Network are: Cornell University, Iowa State University, McMasters University, Mississippi State University, North Dakota State University, The Ohio State University, Tuskegee University, University of Arizona, University of California at Davis, University of California at Berkeley, University of Florida, University of Illinois, University of Kentucky, University of Minnesota, University of Montreal, Washington State University, and West Texas A&M University.