FDA’s Grants to Enhance Key Elements Of Agency’s Food Protection Plan. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced the awarding of 17 grants to enhance animal food safety. These grants fund major cooperative agreements in four major areas. The FDA awarded a combined $5.2 million in these one-year grants to various state and local regulatory agencies.
“These cooperative agreements support and enhance local food protection efforts consistent with our Food Protection Plan,” said Michael Chappell, the 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.”
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 the FDA or provided by other government agencies through the 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 (Ore.). 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 food-borne illness response capability to more rapidly react to potential threats to our food supply. The 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.
The 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.