State departments of agriculture are the frontline in protecting consumers against foodborne illness and food contamination. To support the FDA’s statutory authority, state agencies are primarily responsible for the actual inspections, enforcement, training, and implementation of various other food safety regulatory activities. In fact, approximately 80 percent of all food safety inspections in the United States are completed at the state and local levels. Cooperation between federal and state entities is crucial for the effective implementation of FSMA.

Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)

In 2011, the Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA) was signed into law, marking a pivotal moment in our nation’s commitment to fundamentally enhance and transform our food safety system from reactive (recalls and trace back) to preventive (education and evaluation). State departments of agriculture and other state agencies are charged with implementing significant portions of FSMA, notably:

Currently, 46 states and one territory have entered into cooperative agreements with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to educate and/or regulate farms subject to the Produce Safety Rule. NASDA’s Foundation supports all these states and works jointly with the FDA to guide states in the implementation of best practices. A similar framework for animal food safety is available. Through proactive measures, education, and collaborative partnerships, the FSMA implementation is instrumental in ensuring the well-being of consumers and the integrity of the U.S. food system and supply chain.

As part of NASDA’s guiding principle towards farms’ FSMA compliance, “educate before and while you regulate,” a team of NASDA Foundation, state, FDA and cooperative extension food safety leaders developed the On Farm Readiness Review program. Designed to move farmers away from the audit checklist scheme, the review program is meant to foster a dialogue between the farmer and the regulator and/or educator about the requirements of the Produce Safety Rule. Learn more and how to sign-up for an On Farm Readiness Review at the NASDA Foundation’s website.

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