(Sept. 26) The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced on Sep. 24 more than $14 million in food safety grants to various universities across the country.

Educators from 17 universities will receive grant money to initiate or continue research projects aimed at improving food safety in the U.S. and reducing food borne illness among children, adults and the elderly.

The research projects address food safety issues aimed at on-farm production, postharvest processing, shipping, storage, food buying, food preparation and food consumption.

Every year USDA’s Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service awards National Integrated Food Safety Initiative providing grant funds to enhance scientific research projects aimed at teachers, scientists, health professionals, researchers, farmers, food processors, food service workers and everyone involved in the U.S. food safety supply.

In a news release, Acting Agriculture Secretary Chuck Conner said the “USDA places a high importance on ensuring Americans have access to a safe food supply.”

The total fiscal year 2007 grants range from $304,150 to $2.5 million. For a list of the award recipients, go here.