The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced grant awards for tribal operations and local food producers to enhance food safety and compliance under FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The awarding of cooperative agreements addresses the great diversity that is the hallmark of the food industry and will be used to develop training options for tribes and local food operations.
Food industry training is critical to successful implementation of the FSMA. However, traditional training activities may not work for all groups, and there are instances in which alternate curricula and training delivery are appropriate.
The Local Food Producer Outreach, Education, and Training to Enhance Food Safety and FSMA Compliance cooperative agreement is awarded to the National Farmers Union Foundation.
- The goal is to develop and provide science-based, culturally specific food safety training, education and outreach, for local food producers and processors.
- The emphasis is on those involved in diversified, sustainable, organic and identity-preserved agricultural operations; beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers; value-added farm businesses and small-size processors; and direct and intermediate supply chain participants.
- It is expected that the recipient will collaborate with national and regional food safety leaders; relevant diversified, sustainable, organic and identity-preserved agricultural businesses or organizations; colleges, universities and related land grant cooperative extension programs; and regional and local food sector organizations, among others, to reach the intended audience.
The Native American Tribes Outreach, Education, and Training to Enhance Food Safety and FSMA Compliance cooperative agreement is awarded to the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. This agreement will reflect the cultural practices associated with produce farming and food manufacturing and processing within tribes relevant to their status as sovereign nations.
- The goal is to develop and implement food safety training, education, outreach and identification of technical assistance resources for key tribal stakeholders, including farmers, packers and manufacturers/processors that grow, harvest, pack and hold produce and process food covered by FSMA.
The awards will provide one year of support at $1.5 million for the local food agreement and $750,000 for the tribal agreement. Each agreement includes recommended support for two additional years, contingent upon satisfactory performance in achievement of project and program objectives during the preceding year and the availability of federal fiscal year appropriations.
The FDA’s goal in both agreements is to work with groups that understand the special needs of, and have direct access, to businesses that face unique circumstances and challenges in implementing FSMA. These training programs would include providing an awareness of the underlying reasons for the new standards and would ensure that training addresses the unique needs of the target audiences.