Awards will facilitate compliance with FSMA

Food industry training is critical to successful implementation of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). However, traditional training activities may not work for all groups, and there are instances in which alternate curricula and training delivery are appropriate.

Recognizing the great diversity that is the hallmark of the food industry, the FDA announces the awarding of cooperative agreements that will develop training options for local food production systems and tribal operations.

•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.

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.

The recipient is expected to 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 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 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. These include farmers, packers, and manufacturers/processors that grow, harvest, pack, and hold produce and process food covered by FSMA.

These 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 more years, contingent upon satisfactory performance in achievement of project and program objectives during the preceding year and availability of federal 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 underlying reasons for the new standards and would ensure that training addresses unique needs of target audiences.

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