CHARLESTON — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has awarded the West Virginia Department of Agriculture a laboratory flexible-funding model grant totaling $1.04 million.

The grant will be used for surveillance testing, new equipment and research and development of contaminants in human and animal food. The WVDA is 1 of only 9 labs in the country to receiving this funding for chemistry development.

“Department staff continue to find ways to support our agricultural industries, as well as enhance the WVDA’s overall mission. This grant will bring much needed services to West Virginia,” Agriculture Commissioner Kent Leonhardt said. “Our laboratory staff continue to show they are one of the best in the country.”

The money will fund 9 lab projects, which include: collecting and testing samples of baby food for lead and arsenic, collecting and testing animal food and canned pet food for Salmonella and testing samples of dry cereal for filth and decomposition.

The grant will also pay for the purchase of 2 large pieces of specialized equipment: a whole genome sequencing instrument and MagPix equipment for allergen testing.

“The LFFM grant is of particular importance to the READ laboratories by offering funding for new equipment and support for 2 new programs to the state of West Virginia, WGS for foodborne isolates and food allergen testing. We are also thrilled to enhance our surveillance programs for human and animal foods and provide a safer food supply to our citizens,” said WVDA Regulatory Division Director Amie Minor.

The WVDA Regulatory Division will be eligible for millions more in LFFM grants subject to availability and satisfactory progress of the current projects.

For more information on the grant, contact WVDA Regulatory Division Director Amie Minor at aminor@wvda.us or 304-558-2227.

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