Zoetis Inc., formerly the animal health business unit of Pfizer, announced a gift of $100,000 for salmonella research to the Texas Tech University College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Department of Animal and Food Sciences.

The research gift will help provide resources to better understand and describe the ecology of salmonella in cattle populations and to discover and evaluate tools that might ultimately result in a safer food supply.

“We believe food safety research is critical to the current and future health of the cattle industry,” said Rob Kelly, U.S. cattle and equine business unit vice president at Zoetis. “Consumers expect the food they serve their families to be wholesome and safe, and they are counting on everyone in the industry to work together to deliver safe food to families around the world.”

Establishing partnerships with top research institutions such as Texas Tech University is essential to managing foodborne pathogens like salmonella during the pre-harvest stage, Kelly said.

“Salmonella continues to threaten human health. With new understandings of how it interacts with livestock populations, we can develop better tools that can lead to meaningful improvements in food safety,” said Guy Loneragan, epidemiologist and professor of food safety and public health at Texas Tech University.

“This sort of industry collaboration is vital to the discovery and development of tools to keep food safe, and the research gift from Zoetis will greatly support and enhance our activities to discover and deliver these solutions.”

Because the Zoetis gift is allocated to research and discovery in the area of salmonella and not tied to a specific project or endowment, it has a lot of potential, Loneragan said.

“Anticipating every outcome is difficult when working with a foodborne pathogen like salmonella in cattle,” he said. “The flexibility of this research gift ensures that we can pursue new developments as they arise.”

Michelle Haven, corporate development, alliances and solutions senior vice president at Zoetis, said that research focused in the cattle industry at large will not only help provide important solutions in salmonella research, but also offer opportunities for education and training for graduate students at Texas Tech University.

“Texas Tech University has a talented and enthusiastic research team, including microbiologists, molecular biologists, epidemiologists, meat scientists, animal scientists and those focusing on education,” she said. “We’re glad to help bring everyone together to identify these complex problems and solutions.”