AUBURN, Ala. (AP) - An Auburn University marine scientist has received a USDA grant to study oysters.
The Opelika-Auburn News reports that Bill Walton landed a $456,646 federal grant to help ensure that farmed oysters are safe to eat. The grant will fund a three-year study to determine whether an oyster farm's geographic location, handling practices and choice of equipment affect bacteria levels in farm-raised oysters.
The grant is one of 13 competitive food safety awards that USDA's National Institute for Food and Agriculture has announced as part of its Agriculture and Food Research Initiative.
The project could produce data for Gulf Coast oyster farmers, who focus on producing oysters for high-end markets. Those include upscale restaurants that offer the farmed bivalve mollusks on the half shell.
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