The Food Safety Program at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) provides advanced analytical chemistry and quantitative biology to ensure that food is free of contaminants and allergens and is authentic, promoting U.S. manufacturers’ participation in domestic and foreign markets, and safeguarding the health of consumers.
Food contaminants can sicken consumers, cause outbreaks of disease, and result in costly investigations and recalls with subsequent loss of trust in manufacturers and suppliers. Consumer confidence and safety depend on sophisticated analysis and underlying metrology to detect both intentional and unintentional adulteration and to confirm the identity of food products.
Food industry sales in the U.S. amounted to nearly $5.75 trillion in 2017. As part of the Department of Commerce, it is in NIST’s mission to help promote competitiveness of and confidence in the U.S. food industry and other sectors, enhancing economic security and improving Americans’ quality of life.