The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has awarded a total of $30.9 million to 43 states and territories to help the federal agency implement the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule. This represents the second year of funding from the FDA to the states.

Availability of funding to states to support the produce safety rule was first announced in March 2016. Bids were open to all states and US territories. In September 2016, FDA awarded $21.8 million to support 42 states with implementation of the produce safety rule.

“Congress envisioned the states and FDA working together as an integrated food safety system when it passed FSMA,” said Barbara P Glenn, chief executive officer of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) when she announced the recent funding.

The FSMA produce safety rule establishes science-based minimum standards for safe growing, harvesting, packing and holding of fruits and vegetables grown for human consumption. This rule is a critical part of FSMA and was developed after careful consideration of stakeholder comments. It reflects feedback the FDA received from thousands of public commenters.

The new FDA funding will ensure that awardees have the resources to formulate a multi-year plan to implement a produce safety system and develop and provide education, outreach and technical assistance. These programs will prioritize farming operations covered by the produce safety rule. Funding will help awardees develop programs to address the specific and unique needs of their farming communities.

More than 3,000 Americans are estimated to die each year from foodborne illnesses and many more are hospitalized and sickened.

For more details, access www.fda.gov.