The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced yesterday that it gave $17.5 million in grants to state and local regulatory agencies to bolster food and feed safety initiatives.

The agency gave 83 grants that fund cooperative agreements in four major food and feed safety areas: response, intervention, innovation, and prevention.

“These cooperative agreements support and enhance local food safety efforts,” said Michael Chappell, the FDA’s acting associate commissioner for regulatory affairs. “The grants are another step in FDA’s continuing efforts to build an integrated food safety system between federal, state and local partners.”

The grants, which fund a number of programs that boost interstate and interagency coordination and increase response capabilities, aim to improve the highly fragmented and antiquated national food safety system.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has listed the federal oversight of food safety as a “high-risk” system in need of broad-based reform since 2007.

According to the GAO, the fragmented system of food regulation “has caused inconsistent oversight, ineffective coordination, and inefficient use of resources.” The GAO has repeatedly advocated for greater coordination between the 15 federal government agencies that oversee food safety and for better communication and synergy between federal and local government agencies involved in food regulation.

Fore more information on the grant program and its recipients, visit the FDA’s Food Defense and Emergency Response site.