Since 2014, the NASDA Foundation has had a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to assist in the implementation of the Produce Safety Rule. The Foundation involved volunteers from 24 states to write the NASDA Model Produce Safety Implementation Framework, a document created specifically to assist states to have a roadmap for the implementation of the PSR. The NASDA Foundation also created the On‐Farm Readiness Review program to provide farmers with a voluntary, non‐regulatory “assessment” of the farm’s readiness for an inspection. It has been successful in bridging the gap between education and regulation; over 2500 OFRRs have been completed nationwide.
The NASDA Foundation organizes and hosts an annual National Produce Safety Consortium, bringing key personnel together to share best practices and build on consistency and uniformity of programs. We have developed a Standardized Approach to Produce Farm Inspections, numerous training modules for inspectors and program managers, and many other job aides. The Foundation continues to develop webinars on various priority topics to assist states in training their employees and create uniform and consistent programs nationwide. Another significant effort is establishing “regulatory program standards” for the state produce safety programs. We are working collaboratively with the Association of Food & Drug Officials and the FDA to establish these standards. While these standards will not be implemented for several years, the state staff involved in developing these standards are helping to ensure that they are grounded in the way states are administering these programs at the state-level. We are also working on a long list of other projects aimed at assisting the states, including agricultural water, an on-farm advanced scenario-based training program for the OFRR program, and training priorities to begin routine regulatory inspections required by FDA.
The agreement will fund several of the annual conferences hosted by AAFCO for the training of state personnel, development work on the program standards, building of a database system to store and share documents among the states and continued work on building an integrated food safety system between FDA and the states. NASDA will be engaged in many of the deliverables and will ensure the members are aware of the benefits to their respective state programs. We believe the partnership between NASDA and AAFCO will serve the states well.