FDA Awards $5.2 Million to Further Food, Feed Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently announced the awarding of 17 one-year grants totaling $5.2 million to various state and local regulatory agencies to enhance food and feed safety.

"These cooperative agreements support and enhance local food protection efforts consistent with our Food Protection Plan," said Michael Chappell, FDA's acting associate commissioner for regulatory affairs. "The grants represent an important step in the FDA’s continued efforts to integrate and improve the effectiveness of food safety systems at the federal, state and local levels."

These grants will fund major cooperative agreements in four major areas:

Prevention: Ruminant Feed Ban Support Program

The cooperative agreements for the Ruminant Feed Ban Support Program further enhance the infrastructure of state, territorial, and tribal animal feed safety and bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) prevention programs. Under these cooperative agreements, state, territory, and tribal governments will enhance their feed/BSE safety programs to increase the ability to locate and visit companies involved in the manufacture, distribution, and transportation of animal feed as well as operations feeding ruminant animals, and to verify their compliance with the BSE/ruminant feed ban.

Funds may also be used to conduct educational outreach activities and to develop materials needed to further enhance the industries' knowledge of and compliance with the BSE/ruminant feed ban. The awards were up to $250,000 and the states receiving them were Iowa, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Washington.

Intervention: Food Safety and Security Monitoring

The grants for Food Safety and Security Monitoring provide funding to Food Emergency Response Network chemistry laboratories, laboratories essential to intervention efforts. The grants may be used for facility upgrades, training in current food testing methodologies, and increased laboratory sample analysis capacity, among other activities.

In the event of a large-scale chemical terrorism event affecting food or food products, the recipient may be required to perform selected chemical analyses of food samples collected by FDA or provided by other government agencies through FDA. The states receiving these grants were Colorado, California, and Ohio, and were given up to $350,000.

Intervention: Innovative Food Defense

The Innovative Food Defense grants will generate novel solutions and outreach to address gaps in, or provide enhancement to, food defense nationwide--for example, implementing the food defense programs in food establishments called the Assure, Look, Employees, Reports, and Threat or ALERT, and Employees Follow, Inspect, Recognize, Secure, and Tell or FIRST.

Each recipient was awarded up to $40,000. The funded counties were Riverside County Dept. of Environmental Health (California) and Multnomah County Department of Health (Oregon). The funded states were Pennsylvania and South Carolina.

Response: Rapid Response Teams

The first-ever Rapid Response Team (RRT) cooperative agreement will develop, implement, exercise, and integrate an all-hazards food and foodborne illness response capability to more rapidly react to potential threats to our food supply. RRT--which is designed to operate in conjunction with other food and feed agencies within state programs, other state RRTs, FDA district offices, and state emergency operations centers--is another tool to enhance response capabilities.

RRTs will respond to all food hazard incidents in the farm-to-table continuum of food production and delivery by using incident command structure response protocols, a formalized crisis management system. Each recipient was awarded up to $500,000 to exercise its response team, conduct a program assessment, purchase additional equipment and supplies, fund personnel, train, and share information and data as appropriate. The funded states were North Carolina, Massachusetts, California, Michigan, Florida, and Minnesota.

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