Memorandum of Understanding
The Extension Service
United States Department of Agriculture
The Food and Drug Administration
Department of Health and Human Services
SUBJECT: Memorandum of Understanding with U.S. Department of Agriculture Concerning Public Education in the Basics of Food Safety, Nutrition, and Veterinary Medicine
The purpose of this Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is to promote cooperative efforts by the Extension Service (ES), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) (referred collectively as "the agencies") to educate and inform the U.S. population in the basics of food safety, nutrition, and veterinary medicine. This Memorandum of Understanding defines in general terms the basis on which the agencies will cooperate and coordinate their respective and complementary programs as a means of achieving their common goals. Improved coordination is expected to enhance the dispensing of information to facilitate each agency outreach.
II. Background and Authorities
The Extension Service engages in Extension work pursuant to the Smith Lever Act, as amended (7 USC 341-349), to aid in diffusing among the people of the United States useful and practical information and education on subjects relating to agriculture and home economics.
The ES, through its partnership with the Cooperative Extension System, delivers educational programs in the subject matter areas of nutrition, food safety, and veterinary medicine. A network of trained professionals in every State and 3,150 countries in the United States interprets research-based information for audiences whom they reach through personal contact, media, and other means. The ES provides the essential linkage to the community where its professional staffs both assess needs and provide education and information to the clientele. The ES staff also provides valuable insights and can provide useful feedback from the public for identifying nutrition, food, and veterinary medicine issues that deserve more attention through research and educational materials development.
Five key functions performed by the Extension System include: 1) providing leadership in adapting and applying research and technology; 2) anticipating and responding to critical national issues affecting farmers, agribusinesses, community leaders, families, and young people; 3) mobilizing local and national resources to respond to natural disasters and catastrophes; 4) initiating targeted educational programs for effective and timely implementation of Federal regulations and policies; and 5) developing a cadre of volunteers prepared to serve the Nation, the States, and local communities.
The Food and Drug Administration has the responsibility for protecting the public health by insuring that foods are safe, pure, and wholesome; human and veterinary drugs, medical devices and biological products are safe and effective; cosmetics are safe; that exposure to radiation is minimized; and that all of these products are honestly and informatively labeled.
To accomplish its mission, FDA works to prevent problems that would expose the public to hazards, monitor the marketplace to ensure compliance with relevant laws and regulations; corrects identified problems at every stage in the development and distribution of products; and exchanges information with the public, industry, Congress and other interested parties.
FDA has 35 Consumer Affairs Officers (CAOs) located in 29 major cities throughout the country. CAOs conduct educational programs and activities for the general public, colleges and universities, and health-related professionals in FDA's areas of responsibility.
Thus there is the common goal in ES and FDA of educating the public on the safety and nutritional value of the food supply.
Each Agency maintains essential linkages at the local community level where professional staffs both assess needs and provide education and information to the clientele. The Agencies can also provide valuable insights and useful feedback from the public for identifying food and nutrition information issues that deserve more attention through research and materials development.
III. Responsibilities of Agencies
Pursuant to this agreement, the Food and Drug Administration and the Extension Service will:
1. Inform appropriate personnel of the purpose and intent of this Memorandum of Understanding.
2. Assign appropriate staff to serve as liaison on matters concerned with developing, exchanging, and sharing educational materials, information pieces, and other major Agency activities in the areas of food safety, nutrition, and veterinary medicine.
3. Disseminate Agency information on meetings and educational programs of mutual interest.
4. Provide for periodic discussions between agencies to coordinate efforts in areas of mutual concerns or to plan for new and/or improved procedures and programs for implementation.
5. Facilitate coordination of conferences, seminars and briefings on food safety, human nutrition and veterinary medicine issues.
6. Promote cooperation of staff at all levels of the Cooperative Extension System.
IV. Programming, Budgeting, and Reimbursement Arrangements
This Memorandum of Understanding is not a fiscal or funds-obligating document. Any joint endeavors involving reimbursement or transfer of funds between the parties to this agreement will be handled in accordance with prescribed financial procedures and will be the subject of subsidiary agreements that shall be effected in writing by representatives of both parties to this agreement.
V. Amendments and Review
This Memorandum of Understanding may be amended at any time by mutual written consent of the parties of this Memorandum of Understanding. The Memorandum of Understanding will be reviewed periodically but not less than annually. It may be subject to reconsideration at such other times as may be required and as agreed by representatives of both parties.
VI. Terms of the Agreement
This agreement will become effective upon the signature of both approving officials of the respective agencies entering into this agreement.
The terms of this agreement will remain in effect until terminated by:
1. Mutual agreement, or
2. 30-day written notice to the other agency.
Approved and Accepted
Signed by: Administrator
Date: February 16, 1989
Approved and Accepted
Signed by: Frank E. Young, M.D.
Date: December 14, 1988