FDA Announces Funding Opportunity for States to Support Implementation of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Rule
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) today laid the groundwork for the largest allocation of funds yet — $19 million — to help state agencies support implementation of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Specifically, these funds will be used to support implementation of the Produce Safety rule, which became final in November 2015 and establishes enforceable safety standards for the production and harvesting of produce on farms.
Implementation of the produce rule is dependent on partnerships between FDA and the states, both to deliver education and technical assistance and to provide on-going inspection, compliance, and oversight. To support that partnership, the FDA announced the availability of a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) to solicit 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.
The funding opportunity is available to all states and U.S. territories and is especially relevant to those states with the largest number of covered produce farms under the FSMA Produce Rule, to begin the planning for and development of a state produce safety program. Applicants are encouraged to utilize these funds for planning, infrastructure building, training and education, and other related activities. Up to 55 awards may be awarded. Funding availability for this FOA is $19M for Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 and will continue for five years, subject to availability of funding from Congress.
State regulatory agencies have a better understanding and knowledge of the specific growing and harvesting practices in their areas and many have long standing relationships with produce growers and produce associations. Therefore, FDA considers collaboration with states to be very important for successful implementation of the Produce Rule. Funding for these efforts is a primary FDA goal. State governments are full partners in implementing the key aspects of the preventive controls and produce safety rules under FSMA and fully funding states to do this important public health work is critical.
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