The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), along with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, have announced the creation of the National Food Safety Training, Education, Extension, Outreach and Technical Assistance Grant Program. The plan is to provide funding for certain groups--specifically small farm owners and food processors--to receive training, education and technical assistance that is consistent with the standards being established under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).
Funds in the form of grants to be issued through this new program will pay for a National Coordination Center (NCC), along with four Regional Centers. All will be heavily involved with planned farmer and processor training, including facilitating training delivery and curricula development targeted to specific audiences.
The FDA has announced that two of the regional centers will be established at Iowa State University for the North Central U.S. chapter, and the University of Vermont and State Agricultural College for the Northeast location.
Last fall, an award to develop the NCC was announced and will go to the International Food Protection Training Institute of Battle Creek , MI. The first two regional centers will be located at the University of Florida-Gainesville for the Southern chapter and Oregon State University-Corvallis for the Western chapter.
The creation of these new food safety programs and regional hubs is to advance knowledge among food producers to meet FSMA requirements. As for the regional centers, they will be responsible for understanding and communicating training opportunities available to target businesses in their respective regions, in addition to tailoring curricula to meet specific regional needs and audiences.