Oct 27, 2010 (CIDRAP News) The US Food and Drug Administration announced today that it gave state and local governments 84 grants totaling $18.5 million in the past year to help them prepare for and respond to foodborne disease outbreaks and threats to the food supply.
The grants, awarded mostly to states, were issued in fiscal year 2010, which ended Sep 30, the FDA said in a press release. The funds were provided under cooperative agreements dealing with response, intervention, innovation, and prevention. FDA spokesman Doug Karas said the grants were not previously announced by the agency.
Nine states received up to $500,000 each to develop and test capabilities to respond quickly to potential threats to the food supply. The states were Virginia, Texas, Minnesota, North Carolina, California, Florida, Michigan, Massachusetts, and Washington.
The funds were to be used to exercise rapid-response teams, conduct programs assessments, buy equipment and supplies, pay personnel, and share information and data as appropriate, the FDA said.
Another set of grants went to Food Emergency Response Network (FERN) laboratories, which provide extra capacity for analyzing food and environmental samples related to foodborne disease outbreaks and other food emergencies, the agency said.
Labs received up to $400,000 to boost capacity for microbiologic, chemical, or radiologic analyses. Fifteen states received funds for microbiologic analyses: Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.
Another initiative, the Food Protection Task Force Conference program, provided grants of up to $10,000 to support meetings to foster communication and collaboration among public agencies within states. State recipients were Washington, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Alabama, New Mexico, North Carolina, Indiana, Tennessee, and Nevada; they joined 17 other states with existing grants.
Other awards were provided under the Ruminant Feed Ban/Feed Safety Support Program, which aims to improve feed safety efforts and help prevent bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease, the FDA said.
Feed safety grants of up to $250,000 each went to 12 states: Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Texas, and Washington. The funds were to be used to help state and tribal governments improve their ability to find and monitor companies that make, distribute, and transport animal feed.
Two jurisdictions, Oklahoma and Riverside County, Calif., received "Innovative Food Defense Projects" grants, intended to generate products that improve state and local food defense programs. Examples of these products include special training programs for employees in food establishments, officials said.
Oct 27 FDA news release