EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture is awarding $10.4 million in grants to universities in 13 states for projects designed to boost the safety of the nation's food supply.

Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced the grants Wednesday during a visit to Michigan State University in East Lansing, which is receiving three grants totaling nearly $2.9 million.

Merrigan said the research, education and extension projects will deal with a variety of food-safety issues at a time when millions of Americans get food-borne illnesses each year.

The projects will deal with food production on the farm but also with processing, distribution and even selection and preparation of food by consumers and food-service workers.

According to the list posted on the USDA website, there were no research grants awarded as part of the project in California, Washington, Oregon or Idaho. The closest university to the West Coast to receive a grant was the University of Arizona.

The full list of universities receiving grants can be found online at: http://www.nifa.usda.gov/newsroom/news/2011news/nifsi_awards.html

Copyright 2011 The AP.

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