The Office of Partnerships (OP) is part of the Office of Regulatory Affairs, Food and Drug Administration and serves as the primary agency contact for state, local, tribal, and territorial entities and stakeholders. OP is divided into three branches: Contracts and Grants Staff, Standards Implementation Staff, and the Public Affairs and Information Group.
Contracts and Grants Staff: Each year OP sponsors several competitive grant and cooperative agreement programs related to food safety and human health issues. These grants/cooperative agreements provide Federal and State Agencies with the opportunity to enhance or develop new and existing programs in food and feed safety and defense. OP also manages various sole source and fixed price contract programs with states. These contract programs benefits states with technical training, familiarity with federal requirements and more uniform enforcement of consumer laws through cooperation and coordination with FDA. The contract programs allow FDA to enlarge coverage of the Official Establishment Inventory (OEI) and also to redirect resources to other priorities. The purpose and focus of the programs are to leverage state regulatory resources, enhance coverage of FDA regulated food and feed establishments, and cultivate positive working relationships with state programs.
The FDA, along with selected state program managers, worked to develop a set of standards that could be used by the states as a guide for continuous improvement for state food manufacturing programs. These standards were designed to be used as a foundation for creating, implementing, documenting, and operating a state food manufacturing program. States choose to implement the Manufactured Food Regulatory Program Standards (MFRPS) as an option under their state food contracts. OP has created the Standards Implementation Staff to assist states with the MFRPS. The current staff of standard specialists are located in the field and assist states with: Self-assessments, gap analysis, technical guidance to promote compliance with the MFRPS, promote sharing and exchange of best practices related to implementation of the MFRPS, and development and improvement of the Standards. The Standards Implementation Staff also provides support for State Cooperative Programs.
Public Affairs and Information Group: The Public Affairs and Information Group informs and interacts with stakeholders about OP and FDA activities and initiatives, and coordinates communications with stakeholders throughout the agency. The Group manages the nationwide advisory fax and email broadcast system utilized to communicate FDA emergency, priority messages/alerts and news releases to OP stakeholders. The Branch manages FDA Commissioning and 20.88 Confidentiality Agreements for state and local officials and oversees the contact database of state and local commissioned officials who have been identified as state Reportable Food Registry (RFR) contacts.