Two state universities have acquired major private sector patrons for food safety endeavors.

The University of Idaho has obtained a $2 million pledge from Agri Beef Co. and is continuing to raise money to build an $8 million meat science and innovation center on its campus in Moscow, ID.

Boise-based Agri Beef is an integrated cattle company supporting four beef brands. Its contribution is earning naming rights for the Agri Beef Meat Sciences and Innovation Center. A highlight of the new center will be the work of the late UI meat science teacher Ron Richard, who died in October 2018.

Vandal Brand Meats, which markets various meats such as sausages, steaks, hot dogs and hamburger, will be sold in the new center’s retail store. Vandal Meats are produced by UI students with annual sales of around $325,000.

Northwest Farm Credit Service has also committed $200,000 to the new Center.

Half-way across the country, OSI Group LLC has announced its support for the University of Wisconsin’s Food Research Institute.

“We are pleased to add our support to the world class programs and faculity at FRI,” said Joe Holt, vice president for food safety and quality for OSI. “We look forward to collaboration with our industry partners to continue to ehhance food safety.”

The Food Research Institute was founded at the University of Chicago in 1946. It moved to the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1966.

OSI, a 100-year-old privately owned food company headquartered in Aurora, IL, near Chicago, has 65 major facilities in 18 countries and territories.

FRI is internationally recognized for research on microbial foodborne pathogens and toxins. According to UW, the center operates its own laboratories and conducts independent research, providing leadership to identify and resolve food safety issues to meet the community, government, and industry needs.

“The program’s mission is to catalyze multidisciplinary and collaborative research and promote education and outbreak to enhance the safety of the food supply, ” it added. “FRI is an industry resource for science-based decision making and many of its projects address immediate concerns and new priorities for the food industry.”

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