- The FDA has announced two funding opportunities, or cooperative agreements, intended to address outreach, education, and training needs regarding food safety requirements under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).
- One funding initiative is for Native American tribes, and the other for local food producers.
- The FDA is focused on providing small- and mid-sized local food producers and processors with food safety education and training that specifically addresses the unique food manufacturing and processing procedures relevant to a smaller production scale and management.
Major manufacturers often have entire departments dedicated to food safety, so it makes sense that the FDA would focus its educational initiatives on smaller producers, who may not have the same amount of staff and protocols in place specifically dedicated to food safety.
Major manufacturers can still glean lessons from this funding announcement, as it demonstrates that manufacturers of all sizes need to implement education and training initiatives throughout the company. This ensures all management and employees on the floor understand the food safety protocols in place, new or old, and their role in monitoring risks and carrying out those protocols.
The FDA and other federal agencies have called for manufacturers to be more proactive in their food safety approach and implement preventive controls that stop safety contaminations from ever happening. The Department of Justice has promised harsher consequences for food safety infractions, and food safety breaches can lead to investigations, lawsuits, and criminal punishment. It’s in manufacturers’ best interest to institute better food safety protocols that meet FSMA requirements, which enable them to continue operations without interruption.