The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO) have announced the availability of funds for completion of projects and training to enhance conformance with the Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards (VNRFRPS or Retail Standards). Funds are available for state, local, territorial and tribal regulatory retail food programs that have enrolled in the Retail Standards. Applicants to this program can expect a simple application process, up-front funding when required by the project, and simple reporting requirements. Funds are available for completing projects that meet Retail Standard goals and objectives in three categories:
Category 1: Small Projects (up to $3,000) - Examples: Completion of Self-Assessments, Verification Audits, Small Projects that Advance Conformance with a Standard Not Previously Met
Category 2: Moderate Projects ($10,000 to $20,000) - Examples: Completion of Foodborne Illness Risk Factor Studies, Implementation of Comprehensive Intervention Strategies to Reduce Risk Factors, Moderate Projects that Advance Conformance with a Standard Not Previously Met
Category 3:  Training (up to $2,000) - Examples: Travel to training courses, workshops, and seminars that advance the goals of the Retail Standards
Jurisdictions can apply for funding for one project in each of the three categories for a maximum of three applications per jurisdiction. The amount of $450,000 in funding is available for 2014 and approximately 140 or more awards are expected to be made annually through this program. Jurisdictions must be enrolled in the Retail Standards in order to apply.
To stay informed of the latest developments on this funding opportunity and to find more information about it, or to enroll in the Retail Standards, visit the Retail Food Safety Grants website. The website is anticipated to be open for applications beginning in February 2014.