Response to Food Protection Task Force Conference Grant (PAR-09-123) Project Abstract The Vermont Department of Health (VDH) is applying for continued funding to support a state food protection task force with the goal of improving food safety and protection from farm to table in Vermont. It has been over 10 years since the last multidisciplinary food safety group disbanded in Vermont. Since then, there has been no organized forum for industry, regulators, academia, and other service providers to work together to improve food safety. Main objectives of creating a task force include identifying food safety needs for Vermont food producers and processors, establishing an advisory group for regulatory issues and changes, improving communication between stakeholder groups and state agencies, and increasing availability of food safety education. Vermont obtained FDA Food Protection Task Force Conference Award funding for a stakeholder summit held on March 22, 2012. This was a necessary first step to bring representatives from the food producing groups together to elucidate food safety needs and begin to strategize on ways to address them. The Planning Committee is seeking five additional years of task force funding to continue the important work of establishing and supporting a state food safety task force in Vermont.
Response to Food Protection Task Force Conference Grant (PAR-09-123) Project Narrative The Vermont Department of Health (VDH) is applying for continued funding to create a state food protection task force with the goal of improving food safety and protection from farm to table in Vermont. The mission of VDH is To protect and promote optimal health for all Vermonters. The Vermont Food Safety Stakeholder Summit Event held on March 22, 2012 addressed the public health need to have a food protection conference that included participants from many different parts of the Vermont food system. Support for local food production has been growing rapidly within the state. Increasing local food production in Vermont is seen as an ideal way to grow local businesses and create local jobs. This has led to an increase in the amount of food processors and local food products available for distribution. Continued funding to support the work of a state food safety task force and associated working groups is needed to identify food safety needs for Vermont producers and processors in order to protect the public health.