On Thursday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a competitive grant program to fund food-safety training, education and technical assistance consistent with standards being established under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has joined in the program targeted at small farm owners and food processors.
Priority will be given to grant applications to train owners and operators of small and medium-size farms, farmers just starting out in business, socially disadvantaged farmers, small food processors, small fruit and vegetable wholesalers, and farms that lack access to food safety training and other educational opportunities.
A federal, state, or local agency, state cooperative extension services, non-profit community-based or non-governmental organizations, institutions of higher education, tribes and tribal stakeholders, or a collaboration of two or more eligible entities, are among those eligible for the funding.
“Education and technical assistance projects are an essential element in the FSMA implementation strategy,” FDA said. “Such efforts will help ensure widespread voluntary compliance by encouraging greater understanding and adoption of established food safety standards, guidance, and protocols. They also facilitate the integration of these standards and guidance with a variety of agricultural production systems, encompassing conventional, sustainable, organic, and conservation and environmental practices.”
This is just one of the education and outreach efforts associated with the implementation of FSMA, and FDA notes that much more will be needed to meet technical assistance needs for produce safety.© Food Safety News