Food Safety and Quality:

USDA Initiatives Regarding Aflatoxin Research

RCED-90-205FS: Published: Aug 15, 1990. Publicly Released: Sep 14, 1990.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided: (1) information on aflatoxin research funded as part of the Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) fiscal year (FY) 1990 appropriation; (2) financial data on each of the subject ARS research projects; and (3) a comprehensive overview of USDA aflatoxin research efforts.

GAO found that: (1) in FY 1989, ARS designed 11 research projects to address aflatoxin problems with feed grains, cottonseed, peanuts, and domestic animals; (2) funding for those projects totaled $5,002,700, of which ARS designated $3,782,400 to support specific aspects of aflatoxin research; (3) in FY 1990, Congress appropriated a total of $4,248,700 for aflatoxin research and devoted $750,000 of that solely to aflatoxin prevention; (4) ARS established a task force to review 23 research proposals; (5) an industry official believed that ARS aflatoxin research prevention projects were concentrated more on research to eliminate aflatoxin, rather than its detection and control; (6) an industry group said that increased funding was needed for the ARS aflatoxin prevention research program in order to eliminate aflatoxin by 2000; (7) USDA listed 126 Cooperative State Research Service (CSRS) and state aflatoxin-related research projects as active; (8) CSRS allocates research funds to the states on a formula basis, and reviews and approves individual research proposals; and (9) CSRS did not separately identify amounts it spent on various aspects of aflatoxin control research.

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