Given the large impact of New Mexico's food manufacturing industry, providing high quality, consistent inspections based on the scientific principles of food safety is paramount to protecting New Mexicans and consumers throughout the nation and world. Furthermore, the ability to identify and respond quickly to public health events impacting New Mexico through a well- planned and coordinated Rapid Response Team (RRT) is paramount to preventing the spread and/or continuation of public health related events. In addition to Several large food processors have operations in New Mexico (NM) including: General Mills, Kraft, Coca Cola, Santa Fe Tortilla Company, Bueno Foods, Border Foods, and Albuquerque Tortilla Company, the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED-EHB) has experienced a substantial surge in the number of small local producers seeking to begin food manufacturing. In 2015 NMED-EHB identified an inability to keep up with the growing number of questions and requests to provide assistance and speak to various groups or to develop a program conforming with the MFRPS. Since obtaining ?MFRPS cooperative agreement? in 2015, NMED-EHB has made significant progress in conforming with the MFRPS by achieving conformance with five standards and through the expansion of staffing, has been able to begin providing assistance to new and existing food manufacturers throughout the state. In addition to having adequate resources and time to respond to questions, applications, plan reviews, operational plans, recalls, training requests, and fulfilling staff training requirements, NMED-EHB now also able to provide scientifically, risk-based inspections with a small team of properly trained and audited inspection staff. Raising the level of staffing and eduation/training of this team has proven immediately beneficial to NM-produced manufacturing as the team has discovered significant issues previously undiscovered by other staff conducting manufactured food inspections. Corrections are being handled in a timely manner in accordance with SOPs. NMED-EHB anticipates participation in the Flexible Funding Model Cooperative Agreement will result in further increasing the effectiveness of protecting public health nationwide and will result in full conformance with the MFRPS by the completion of Y2 of this agreement. After conformance is achieved in Y2, NMED-EHB anticipates maintaining conformance with the MFRPS through established monitoring practices and will strive to continually improve through envisioned continuous improvement initiatives. This will be oaccomplished by the following: ? The State will achieve, monitor, and successfully sustain full conformance with the Manufactured Food Regulatory Program Standards (MFRPS) by completion of Y2; ? The State will actively engage through an annual face-to-face meeting and participation in committees supporting MFRPS; ? The State has and will collaboratively develop strategies and share those strategies with other states; ? The State will provide FDA the foundation for pursuing regulatory action based upon the findings of State manufactured food regulatory programs; and ? The State will seek to further enhance its capability to protect public health through development and implementation of Standard Enhancement Projects and continuous improvement initiatives. The goal of this project is to build a manufactured food program to protect consumers throughout the state and beyond. At minimum, absent major unforeseen difficulties, significant conformance will be attained with the Manufactured Food Regulatory Program Standards.
NMED's focus is to implement the Manufactured Food Regulatory Program Standards (MFRPS) by conducting program self-assessment, operating from an effective strategic plan, developing policies and procedures, strengthening collaborations, to reach significant conformance with the MFRPS and to maintain conformance with achieved standards and continually improve through effective and consistent monitoring practices. In addition, NMED's focus will expand in Y3 of this cooperative agreement to encompass RRT initiatives to facilitate an effective food safety system by developing and coordinating collaborative epidemiological, lab, and environmental efforts with applicable state, tribal, local, and federal partners. This will be accomplished through strategic planning, training, data sharing and analysis, communications, and continual improvement efforts. Together, these initiatives will help the NMED and its collaborative partners protect public health by having robust, quality manufactured foods regulatory and RRT programs.