Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced its largest allocation of funds yet–$19 million to help state agencies support the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).
FSMA cannot be successfully implemented without ongoing partnerships between the FDA and the states. Both must provide education and technical assistance to food industry workers responsible for implementing and following FSMA rules. As a result, the FDA has announced the availability of a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA). The agency is seeking applications for cooperative agreements with state regulatory agencies to help plan for and develop the infrastructure needed to implement the Produce Safety Rule. This collaboration with states is crucial to successful FSMA implementation because it will help ensure the quality, coordination, consistency, and effectiveness of state and federal efforts to protect the food supply.
All states and U.S. territories are eligible to apply for the funding, and there is a particular interest in engaging states with the largest number of covered produce farms under the FSMA Produce Rule. Once secured, states must use the funds for planning infrastructure building, training and education, and other related activities. Up to 55 awards may be granted. The money is allocated to the fiscal year 2016 budget and will continue for 5 years, dependent upon funding from Congress.
FSMA was finalized last November and will enforce strict safety standards for the production and harvesting of produce on farms.