The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently enhanced its food and feed protection initiatives with the award of three one-year Food Safety and Security Monitoring grants totaling $1 million to the states of Arkansas, Nebraska, and Wisconsin. The funds support cooperative agreements designed to create a national integrated food safety system through enhanced federal and state collaboration in food emergency response activities.
“We are excited to partner with these states as they perform such critical roles in ensuring food safety,” said Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D., Commissioner of Food and Drugs. “The FDA is committed to investing in efforts that will better protect American consumers from food safety and food defense threats.”
The three states each received $350,000 to fund Food Emergency Response Network (FERN) chemistry laboratories. FERN labs are essential to the FDA’s regulatory efforts and the grants may be used for facility upgrades, training in current food testing methodologies, and increased laboratory sample analysis capacity, and other activities.
In the event of a large-scale event affecting food or food products, the grant recipients may be required to perform selected analyses of food samples collected by the FDA or provided by other government agencies through the FDA.
The state recipients and highlights for each grant include:
Arkansas ? Arkansas Department of Health, Little Rock, Ark. The grant award will be used to increase the department’s ability to test for toxic and unknown substances in food products, provide regional support for national responses during food surveillance activities, increase state and local emergency response capacities and become more proficient in testing foods for toxic and unknown substances.
Nebraska ? Nebraska Department of Agriculture, Lincoln, Neb. The award will enable analyses of foods and food products in the event redundancy or additional laboratory capacity is needed for chemical-related analyses.
Wisconsin ? Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Madison, Wis. The grant will provide for standing reserve capacity within the FERN for response to chemical-related analysis needs, or an event of such significance that it threatens the national food supply.
In 2008, the FDA awarded $5.2 million in food and feed safety grants to state and local agencies selected by a review panel that scored proposals based on technical and programmatic merit. The grants fund major cooperative agreements in four major areas: the Ruminant Feed Ban Support Program, Innovative Food Defense, Rapid Response Teams, and Food Safety and Security Monitoring. California, Ohio, and Colorado were the 2008 recipients of the Food Safety and Security Monitoring grants.
Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration, USA