FDA has awarded f $21.8 million to support 42 states as they begin to implement the produce safety rule, part of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

The agreement provides states the resources to formulate a multi-year plan to implement a produce safety system, develop and provide education, outreach and technical assistance, prioritizing farming operations covered by the produce safety rule, and develop programs to address the specific and unique needs of their  farming communities, among other goals.

Applicants were classified into five tiers of funding eligibility based on the estimated number of farms growing covered produce within their jurisdiction.  The funding opportunity is for five years, subject to the availability of funding from congress.

Larger farms will need to comply with certain aspects of the produce safety rule requirements beginning in January 2018, with smaller produce operations having additional time to comply.  FDA has indicated its commitment to ‘educate before and while it regulates’ as the FSMA rules are implemented.