The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) will be awarding $21.8 million to support 42 states with implementing the agency's Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) produce safety rule.
Successful implementation of the produce safety rule depends on partnerships between the FDA and the states, both to deliver education and technical assistance to farmers and to provide on-going inspection, compliance and oversight.
The cooperative agreement between the FDA and the states provides awardees with the resources to formulate a multi-year plan to implement a produce safety system, develop and provide education, outreach and technical assistance, prioritizing farming operations covered by the produce safety rule, and develop programs to address the specific and unique needs of their farming communities, among other goals.
Applicants were classified into five tiers of funding eligibility based on the estimated number of farms growing covered produce within their jurisdiction. The funding opportunity is for 5 years, subject to the availability of funding from Congress. Further information on state awardees can be found on the State Produce Implementation Cooperative Agreement Program page.
Larger farms will need to comply with certain aspects of the produce safety rule requirements beginning in January 2018, with smaller produce operations having additional time to comply. FDA has indicated its commitment to ‘educate before and while it regulates’ as the FSMA rules are implemented and we intend to continue to work with growers to ensure that they understand the provisions and expectations for their implementation.