1 The broad, long-term objectives of the proposed project are to 2 ? Establish a sustainable communication network connecting educators and 3 grower/processors throughout the North Central Region (NCR) to facilitate collaboration 4 for FSMA compliance training and build training capacity. 5 ? Conduct a regional needs assessment and identify the gaps in knowledge for 6 growers/processors and in educational tools/technical assistance for educators. 7 ? Develop and implement a food safety program that addresses the needs of NCR 8 growers and educators and provide region-specific technical and FSMA rule 9 assistance to small-scale growers/food processors in the NCR. 10 The central hypothesis of the proposed project is that regional-specific FSMA education and 11 access to technical assistance will provide the crucial tools to facilitate compliance with FSMA 12 regulations of growers/processors. The team will build a sustainable educational infrastructure 13 specific to the region (System Approach), leveraging existing relationships and extant curricula 14 while developing the missing tools to help growers/processors meet FSMA requirements. 15 The proposed programmatic approach will define the NCR food safety program through a needs 16 assessment (Delphi approach to consensus), a research-based educational model (Oliva Model), 17 and wide-reaching stakeholder engagement. Specifically, the proposes project will utilize the 18 research-based Delphi Technique to ensure that the large and highly diverse population of 19 stakeholders has a voice in setting the educational priorities for the region. The development of 20 the food safety program materials will use the research-based Oliva model, which will be 21 modified to develop both a curriculum for growers/food processors and a curriculum for 22 trainers. 23 In partnership with growers and food processors in all 12 states (Stakeholder Engagement), the 24 training mandated by the national FSMA Produce and Preventive Control will be adapted to 25 regional needs and implemented in training programs for underrepresented growers/food 26 processors. 27 Achieving these objectives will meet the goal of the program in creating an infrastructure in 28 the NCR that supports the training for Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) compliance. It 29 will result in long-term impacts on the region and the nation, reducing the incidences of 30 foodborne illnesses and laying the groundwork for a safer food supply.

Public Health Relevance

The proposed project will create a training and communication infrastructure in the North Central Region to facilitate compliance with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), in particular for small and mid-sized growers and processors. It will result in long-term impacts on the region and the nation, reducing the incidences of foodborne illnesses and laying the groundwork for a safer food supply.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Research Project (R01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZFD1)
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Iowa State University
Earth Sciences/Resources
United States
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