Objectives

The overarching goal of this project is to support the infrastructure of the national food safety program by communicating and coordinating information within the North Central Region (NCR) related to the Food Safety Modernization Act’s (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule and Preventive Control Rule.

The NCR FSMA Center has been funded by several rounds of funding through the FDA and USDA.  The current grant funding runs through 2024.  Additionally, the NCR FSMA Center received a no-cost extension at the completion of the 2018-2021 grant.  The no-cost extension continues through August 2022.

The specific objectives of the 2021-2024 grant are:

Objective 1: Expand the produce safety network within the NCR

  • Partnership building with organizations within states
  • Stakeholder feedback boards of niche audiences
  • Communication plan for audiences
  • Smaller group events and larger group events
  • Track participation
  • Produce Centers and National Produce Network meetings will continue

Objective 2: Collaborate with and support the NCR produce safety network partners

  • Increase collaboration efforts
  • Support produce trainings (expand efforts)
  • Support produce trainers (funding and people)
  • Support FSOP projects
  • More collaboration with other centers and programs

Objective 3: Create, modify, and validate safety training programs based on a needs assessment

  • Informal needs assessment of training materials
  • Modify and develop materials based on the needs assessment
  • New materials reviewed and disseminated

Objective 4: Professional development of and technical assistance

  • Deliver new food safety materials to growers, processors, and educators
  • Provide technical assistance to produce safety network

 

The specific outputs from the no-cost extension of the 2018-2021 funding are:

  1. Professional Development Stakeholder Engagement Trainings: series of stakeholder focus group meetings (2 for growers and 2 for processors) and fall and spring professional development trainings will occur. 
  2. Professional Development Trainings for Educators: one in-person and one virtual workshop for educators as follows: 
    1. Train the Trainer Bridging the GAPs: Approaches for Treating Preharvest Agricultural Water On-Farm. Two, ½-day virtual sessions with extension specialists from across the United States to teach participants about different approaches to treating water on-farm; how to implement these systems to meet requirements of the Produce Safety Rule; and how to verify that the system is operating as intended. 
    2. The Produce Safety Alliance Advanced Training workshop is a collaboration between the Produce Safety Alliance and the Southern Center. This three-day workshop is geared toward trainers and lead trainers of the PSA curriculum.
  3. Long-Term Behavioral Change Interviews: a long-term behavioral change study that includes in-depth interviews with growers within all 12 states in the NCR.  This study will evaluate what behavioral changes have occurred with growers who took the Produce Safety Alliance training in 2017 and 2018 (the first two years of the course). 
  4. Mini Grants to support Niche Audiences: The NCR FSMA Center is offering these mini-grants to ensure that state specific produce industry food safety needs are met. 

The specific objectives of the 2018-2021 grant were:

  • Objective 1: Expand the successfully established produce safety network within the NCR
  • Objective 2: Develop and implement a communication system
  • Objective 3: Support for Food Safety Outreach Program Awards
  • Objective 4: Review of FSMA add-on materials and alternative curricula
  • Objective 5: Professional development for a cadre of regional FSMA trainers
  • Objective 6: Technical assistance to growers, processors, and vendors in the NCR

In partnership with educators, regulators, growers and food processors in all 12 states (Stakeholder Engagement), these objectives were achieved by expanding the regional produce safety network, supporting FSOP grant awardees, and providing training for regional FSMA stakeholders.  The team built on the existing educational infrastructure specific to the NCR (Systems Approach) to leverage existing relationships with the other regional centers, local food and tribal centers, FDA, USDA, the State Departments of Agriculture, and other existing relationships. We supported and reviewed the development of add-on material and alternative curricula by FSOP awardees and extended technical assistance to the target audiences of growers, processors, vendors, and FSMA trainers. 

National Collaboration

NCR FSMA will coordinate with the Lead Regional Coordination Center (LRCC) as led by Dr. Keith Schneider of the University of Florida (Southern) and regional centers by Elizabeth Newbold of University of Vermont (Northeast) and Dr. David Stone of Oregon State University (Western) to:

  1. Develop and execute an effective national communication plan;
  2. Identify national outputs and impacts developed by FSOP awardees;
  3. Review FSMA add-on material, alternative curricula, and additional materials developed by FSOP awardees; and
  4. Report outcomes, best practices, impact stories, and other evaluation metrics to LRCC for national stakeholder reporting. 

Each regional center will takes lead of one component in collaboration with the LRCC as outlined in in the table below to review add-on materials and alternative curricula developed via FSOP awardees and others, market newly developed materials, and create impact stories.

Southern Center

Lead Regional Coordination Center

National communication and collaboration plan

National technical assistance platform

Frequently asked questions platform

Coordination of evaluators from all centers

Develop evaluation matrix

Assist with development of add-on material review matrix

Assist with development of alternative curricula review matrix

The Northeast Center to Advance Food Safety

Information Management

Clearinghouse

Assist with the development of national impact stories

Western Regional Center to Enhance Food Safety

Coordinate National Add-On Material Review:

Development of add-on material review matrix with LRCC

Coordinate the review and approval of add-on material

North Central Region Center for FSMA Training, Extension, and Technical Assistance

Coordinate National Produce Safety Alliance and Preventive Control Alternative Curricula Review

Development of alternative curricula review matrix with LRCC

Coordinate the review and approval of alternative curricula material

Develop national impact stories related to FSMA

Achieving these objectives through a team-based approach will result in long-term impacts on the region and the nation, reducing the incidences of foodborne illness, and laying the groundwork for a safer food supply

Questions? Email us at NCRFSMA@iastate.edu

This work is supported by the Food Safety Outreach Program [grant no. 2018-70020-28877] from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

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