FDA Announces 2014 Food Safety Challenge on detecting Salmonella in produce (w/ $500K to be awarded)

Well this is very interesting. The FDA has announced a competition: U.S. Food and Drug Administration | 2014 Food Safety Challenge. From their site


While the American food supply is among the safest in the world, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1 in 6 Americans is sickened by foodborne illness annually, resulting in about 3,000 deaths each year.  It is estimated that the overall negative economic impact of foodborne illness in the United States, including medical costs, quality-of-life losses, lost productivity, and lost-life expectancy, may be as high as $77 billion per year.  Salmonella represents the leading cause of deaths and of hospitalizations related to foodborne illness.  Contaminated produce is responsible for nearly half of foodborne illnesses and almost a quarter of foodborne-related deaths.

The 2014 FDA Food Safety Challenge is a call to scientists, academics, entrepreneurs, and innovators from all disciplines to submit concepts applying novel and/or advanced methodologies to foster revolutionary improvements in foodborne pathogen detection.  Specifically, concepts should apply cutting-edge techniques to achieve significant improvements in the speed of the FDA’s detection methods for Salmonella with identification to the subtype/serovar level in minimally processed fresh produce.  FDA is most interested in concepts that explore the acceleration or elimination of sample preparation and/or enrichment in the testing process, and/or those that employ novel or revolutionary techniques to achieve pathogen detection.

The Awards

Prizes awarded under this competition will be paid by electronic funds transfer and may be subject to Federal income taxes.



From the $500,000 prize pool, up to 5 finalists will be awarded $20,000 each following the Open Submission phase and judging of submissions.  After the Field Accelerator phase and final judging, the winner(s) will receive the remainder of the prize money.

More detail:

Also see these posts and articles:

Hat top to Paula Olsiewski.



Leave a Reply

Jonathan Eisen

I am an evolutionary biologist and a Professor at U. C. Davis. My lab is in the UC Davis Genome Center and I hold appointments in the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology in the School of Medicine and the Department of Evolution and Ecology in the College of Biological Sciences. My research focuses on the origin of novelty (how new processes and functions originate). To study this I focus on sequencing and analyzing genomes of organisms, especially microbes and using phylogenomic analysis (see my lab site here which has more information on lab activities).  In addition to research, I am heavily involved in the Open Access publishing and Open Science movements.