The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has awarded 17 one-year grants worth a combined $5.2 million to various state and local regulatory agencies. The grants are designed to enhance food and feed safety. They fund cooperative activities in the following four major areas:

Ruminant feed ban support program: State, territory and tribal governments will enhance their feed/BSE safety programs. Among this they will increase the ability to visit companies involved in the manufacture, distribution and transportation of animal feed to verify compliance with the BSE/ruminant feed ban. The same action applies to operations feeding ruminant animals. Funds also may be spent for educational outreach activities and to develop materials to advance the industries' knowledge of and compliance with the BSE/ruminant feed ban. The grants of up to $250,000 went to Iowa, Mississippi, North Carolina and Washington.

Food safety and security monitoring: This funding went to Food Emergency Response Network chemistry laboratories, and may be used for facility upgrades, food testing methodology training and increased laboratory sample analysis capacity, among other activities. Colorado, California and Ohio received up to $350,000.

Innovative food defense: The Innovative Food Defense grants will be used to find novel solutions and outreach to address gaps in, or provide enhancements to, food defense nationwide. Counties and states were the recipients receiving up to $40,000. The counties included Riverside County Department of Environmental Health in California and Multnomah County Department of Health in Oregon; on the state level, Pennsylvania and South Carolina received funds.

Rapid response teams: The first-ever Rapid Response Team cooperative agreement will develop, implement, exercise and integrate an all-hazards food and food-borne illness response capability to more rapidly react to potential food-supply threats. Each recipient was awarded up to $500,000 to exercise its response team, assess programs, purchase additional equipment and supplies, fund personnel, train, and share information and data. North Carolina, Massachusetts, California, Michigan, Florida and Minnesota received funding.

Source: Meatingplace.com