The International Food Protection Training Institute (IFPTI) announced today that the Fiscal Year 2010 Appropriations bill passed by the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives provides $1 million for the institute to train state and local food safety inspectors.

IFPTI, located in Battle Creek, Michigan, opened in 2009.  The institute is a 509(c)3 non-profit organization that provides certified food protection training programs that meet established U.S. federal food safety standards to state, local, tribal, and territorial food protection professionals.  

Over half of FDA inspections at domestic food processing plants are currently being conducted by state employees, yet no mandatory federal training requirements exist for state food inspectors.   

Working in collaboration with the Association of Food and Drug Officials and the U.S. Food and Drug Administratioin (FDA), IFPTI has trained more than 200 food safety professionals from 28 different states since July 2009.  The institute plans to train over 1,000 state and local food protection professionals in 2010, and seeks to create a network of university-based Centers of Excellence to build capacity as part of an integrated national food safety system.

The need for stricter standards across federal, state, and local government agencies responsible for food safety has been echoed by such government officials as Michael Taylor, Senior Advisor to the Commissioner of the FDA.  In a July statement before the House Committee on Agriculture, Taylor commented, “Working with USDA, industry, consumers, states, localities, and other key partners, we will establish basic standards for preventive controls.  We will then join with states and localities to create an integrated national system of inspection, verification, and enforcement.”

Food Safety has been a hot topic in Washington over the last several months.  House Resolution 2749, The Food Safety Enhancement Act, passed through the House shortly before the summer recess, and food safety advocates are pushing for the passage of Senate Bill 510, The Food Safety Modernization Act, before the holidays.  

Current training offerings from IFPTI include courses on the application of basics of inspection and investigation, managing retail food safety, the implementation of hazard analysis and critical control points training for fish and fishery products, and environmental sampling.

The Fiscal Year 2010 Appropriations bill is expected to be signed by President Obama this week.