The Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA) is focusing on food safety as a top priority. A healthy food system begins on the farm and ends with healthy communities. The foundation of a healthy food system is food safety and requires preventative measures be in place to ensure safe food products are entering the marketplace. Proactive and responsive approaches can lead to early detection and identification of potential food safety concerns. Education, outreach and inter-agency cooperation can assist in mitigating or minimizing harmful food safety effects. Missouri's agricultural diversity includes 107,825 farms, 3 million swine, over 3 million cattle, 4,448 egg retailers, 764 egg dealers, 8 processors, as well as 1,445 total permitted and licensed dairy farms, including goat and sheep with the Missouri State Milk Board. There are 96,000 farms smaller than 180 acres with 89% of them producing less than $100,000 per year. The diversity requires multi-faceted, aggressive, and cohesive strategies to food safety and business development that will provide the safest and highest quality foods with the best value to both consumers and producers. In cooperation with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the MDA proposes to enhance proactive Department food safety response efforts. FDA funds provide training for inspectors, outreach agents and producers in the assessment of food storage, processing, and distribution facilities in order to identify high risk areas for the introduction of raw materials containing viral, fungal, and bacterial contaminants. As part of this effort, FDA funding will be used to hire a food safety coordinator to develop, implement and provide oversight of a strategic plan with quantifiable milestones, benchmarks, targets and performance measures for the first three years, until long-term funding is secured. As a result of this cooperative effort, MDA will have a skilled and trained staff along with informed and educated producers equipped with the necessary tools to identify and respond to food safety critical control points and implement essential food safety preventative measures.
The Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA) is focusing on food safety as a top priority. A healthy food system begins on the farm and ends with healthy communities. The foundation of a healthy food system is food safety and requires preventative measures be in place to ensure safe food products are entering the marketplace.