Trainings related to Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) rules can be expensive and time consuming for educators and participants, yet everyone wants safe food. A strategy promoted by federal and state regulators has been to “educate before and while we regulate.” Education is key to meeting FSMA goals and the food industry is expressing a need for more.
UVM Extension’s Response
UVM Extension led a collaborative proposal among five institutions to secure funding in 2016 to create the Northeast Center to Advance Food Safety (NECAFS). Since then, the network has grown from 36 partners to 288. One way NECAFS aims to improve food safety is by financially supporting educators to attend Train-the-Trainer courses and deliver programs to producers and processors. Last year, the Training Support Stipend Program (TSSP) provided $13,500 to 18 educators from nine states.
Those 18 trainers are now able to offer regionally tailored classes for producers and processors in the Northeast. Access to this education will help participants better understand and implement food safety practices. The TSSP is only one part of NECAFS. Contact Chris Callahan or Elizabeth Newbold at UVM Extension, or visit go.uvm.edu/necafs.
But Don't Take Our Word for It!
"Food safety is actually farmer safety, and we need to help growers provide good products and reduce risk. We’ve trained 50 producers with NECAFS support and plan to train 100 more this year." - Linda Titus, AgMatters, Maine
"NECAFS made the decision to train two of us at the same time a no-brainer. Now we’re both meeting the needs of our state." - Lori Pivarnik, University of Rhode Island
"NECAFS helped me become a certified lead trainer. Now I offer FDA-recognized trainings to growers in Mass. and neighboring states." - Lisa McKeag, UMass Extension
"NECAFS funding makes it possible for me, and growers and processors, to get the training we need." - Litha Sivanandan, West Virginia University Extension Service
Funding for NECAFS was made possible, in part, by the Food and Drug Administration through grant 1R01FD005686.