CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has awarded the West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA) a Laboratory Flexible Funding Model (LFFM) 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 one of only nine 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,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt. “Our laboratory staff continue to show they are one of the best in the country.”
The monies will fund nine 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 two, 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 two 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.
The West Virginia Department of Agriculture protects plant, animal and human health through a variety of scientific, regulatory and consumer protection programs. The Commissioner of Agriculture is one of six statewide elected officials who sits on the Board of Public Works.