Small food production and processing companies just got some help to comply with new food safety guidelines that came into effect when the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).
Grants totaling $4.7 million are now available from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) for food safety education, training, and technical assistance, the agency announced Monday.
Intended to assist small to mid-size farms, small processors, farmer’s markets, beginning or socially-disadvantaged farmers, and other groups, the grants are being offered through the USDA’s Food Safety Outreach Program to fund three types of projects aimed at compliance with the new guidelines.
One area of funding will go to pilot projects to develop and implement “high-risk, high-impact” food safety education and outreach programs oriented toward small, specialized audiences, the USDA said. Community outreach programs will receive grant money to strengthen existing food safety education and outreach programs. The third segment of grant funding will go to multistate education and training programs.
"As growing demand for local food creates new economic opportunities for small farms, beginning farmers, and others, we are committed to ensuring that all types of farmers and businesses have the tools they need to be successful," said Agricultural Secretary Tom Vilsack. "By supporting projects that offer tailored training, education, and technical assistance for producers and processors of local food, these grants will benefit producers, the entire food supply chain, and consumers."
Applications for the grant funds are due June 2. The USDA is presenting a webinar for potential applicants on April 19 at 2:30 pm EST.
For more information on the USDA’s new grants, visit the USDA’s Food Safety Outreach Program webpage.