Although the food supply in the United States is considered the safest around the world, around 48 million Americans still fall sick due to contaminated food each year. The Food and Drug Administration is offering a total prize pool of $500,000 to any scientist, academic, entrepreneur, innovator, and anyone new to the food safety field who can develop “potential breakthrough ideas” that will help identify organisms at the source of foodborne illnesses.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are over 250 known pathogens and toxins that cause foodborne illnesses and often result in an outbreak. Under the American COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010, the 2014 FDA Food Safety Challenge offers cash prizes for anyone capable of spurring innovation, solving tough problems, or advancing core missions. Anyone interested in participating in the competition are asked to submit their concept to the FDA by Nov. 9, 2014.

“We are thrilled to announce the FDA’s first incentive prize competition under the America COMPETES Act,” Michael Taylor, the FDA’s deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine, said in a statement. “This is an exciting opportunity for the federal government to collaborate with outside experts to bring forth breakthrough ideas and technologies that can help ensure quicker detection of problems in our food supply and help prevent foodborne illnesses.”

The FDA Food Safety Challenge is aimed specifically toward finding ways to reduce the impact of Salmonella, the leading cause of death and hospitalization related to foodborne illness. Out of the 3,000 deaths attributed to foodborne illness each year in the U.S., 380 are caused by Salmonella on top of 18,000 hospitalizations. The current advice for preventing Salmonella is avoiding raw or undercooked eggs, poultry, or meat altogether.

The FDA launched its cash prize competition on Tuesday and has posted a complete list of challenge rules on its website. Concepts must have the ability to detect Salmonella in minimally processed fresh produce while the ability to find a solution to address testing for other microbial pathogens in other foods is also encouraged. Contestants with the top five submissions will receive $20,000 as well as the opportunity to be coached by FDA experts who can help with the further development of their concept before they are presented to Food Safety Challenge judges.