FDA awarded Iowa State University a three-year, $950,000 grant to construct a regional food safety center that will help manufacturers and processors in the food industry comply with new federal regulations .

The North Central Regional Center for Food Safety Training will provide guidance to food processors and growers in 12 Midwestern states, the university says.

“We’re able to document more foodborne outbreaks now as detection and health care technology have improved,” says Angela Shaw, assistant professor of food science and human nutrition. “And social media and news media have helped food safety grow in stature as an important issue to people. Food safety rules should reflect those changes.”

The center will help companies get in line with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2011, FSMA is a sweeping reform of the nation’s food safety laws. These changes are built upon a foundation of seven new major rules that aim to ensure the US food supply is safe by shifting focus from responding to contamination to preventing it. The first rules were finalized and submitted by FDA to the Federal Register in last year. The produce safety rule, one of seven major rules under FSMA, requires fruit and vegetable growers to meet science-based minimum standards for safe growing, harvesting, packing and holding of fruits and vegetables grown for human consumption. FSMA also establishes a national center and four regional centers—which includes the new center at Iowa State—to help guide companies that will have to comply with the law.