The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday announced a new cooperative agreement with the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) related to the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) to provide critical information to help plan and carry out implementation of a national produce safety rule, in partnership with state regulatory agencies.

The cooperative agreement will provide the funding and support necessary to determine the current foundation of state law, the resources needed by states to implement the produce safety rule, as well as develop a timeline for successful implementation once the rule is finalized.

NASDA will partner with the Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO), the International Food Protection Training Institute (IFPTI), and other public health partners in the development of a national produce safety plan.

“Our state partners have expertise in produce safety and unique knowledge of local food production activities, and thus have an essential role to play in helping to implement the FSMA produce safety rule,” said Michael R. Taylor, FDA’s deputy commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine. “This cooperative agreement will provide critical information on state legal authorities and resources to address produce safety and lay the foundation for working with NASDA and other state partners to develop a realistic and workable plan for nationwide implementation of the produce safety rule.”

“The progress we have made in the past year towards a state-federal partnership with the FDA is incredible,” said Chuck Ross, outgoing NASDA president and current Vermont Secretary of Agriculture. “This agreement further confirms the critical need to make sure the produce safety rule gets implemented correctly. NASDA will help the FDA develop and implement a national produce safety plan in a way that makes sense to the producers and processors that feed American consumers.”

NASDA CEO Barbara Glenn added, "We are thrilled for the opportunity to further collaborate with the FDA on food safety. NASDA is committed to the sound and comprehensive execution of this cooperative agreement."

NASDA is a nonpartisan, nonprofit association that represents the elected and appointed commissioners, secretaries, and directors of the departments of agriculture in all 50 states and four U.S. territories. For more information, visit NASDA's website.